Burnley Grammar School

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Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 772,000
Item #: 1607
There's pleny of room in the modern-styled gymnasium for muscle developing, where the boys are supervised by Mr. R. Parry, the physical education instruction.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, December 1959

Comment by: James B on 2nd June 2020 at 14:08

Alan P

I too remember the checks at the start of the gym class. I was always amazed how a minority of boys didn't seem to grasp the rule but, as you say, a few whacks of the gym shoe seemed to assist them in their understanding! It didn't take long before adherence was 100%!

Comment by: Alan P on 1st June 2020 at 15:33

Graham, James B, no, pyjama bottoms weren’t compulsory and most boys didn’t bother. It was basically easier not too. I was much happier sleeping naked, as were almost all of my friends. As to pe shorts, yes, the rule of no underpants was checked by looking down the back (and sometimes the front) of shorts. Once you knew the penalty, ie gym shoe, you abided by the rules.

Comment by: James B on 1st June 2020 at 12:10

Alan P

Like you we were only allowed to wear the white cotton gym shorts in pe. This was at a boys only grammar school in the mid -60's. The 'no underpants' rule was enforced with the gym shoe being used should anyone be stupid enough to be caught. Did your pe teacher do any checks to ensure adherence to the rule?

Comment by: Graham on 1st June 2020 at 09:53

Alan P
Were pj bottoms compulsory or optional at your second school?

Comment by: Alan P on 31st May 2020 at 07:41

Graham, similar in senior school (From age 12) which was a different school although we could wear pyjama bottoms. Swimming was naked up to year 3 so about 15. Never an issue for me and I was in swimming team so got extra tuition. PE was in white cotton shorts only and rigidly enforced. The pe teacher was quite a one for giving the gym shoe and you ended up with a very red backside which was awkward if you then had swimming practice later in the day. Remember, in those days, this was the norm and totally endorsed by my parents.

Comment by: Graham on 29th May 2020 at 13:13

Alan P
And one last question - well, three actually! Were you at the same school right through your schooldays, or did you move on to s senior school in due course? If so, did you encounter the same nightwear/swimwear arrangements? And what about your PE kit, did you wear tops or were you topless?

Comment by: John on 29th May 2020 at 00:44

Emma,
I’m a Godparent but not a parent. Enabling your children to attend boarding school will have helped them to become independent people and to make lifelong friends. Allowing your sons to sleep naked instead of making them wear unnecessary pyjamas ensured that they could form their own identities. In my opinion you are great parents.

Comment by: Graham on 29th May 2020 at 00:22

Great that you had such very enlightened parents, And how about you? Chilly dormitory apart, were you OK with being expected to go without PJs. Did it come as a surprise to you, and we're you used to sleeping in PJs before you went? I don't imagine there were many 9 year olds sleeping naked back in the 1980s, I can understand boarding school staff turning a blind eye to boys choosing to sleep naked, but actively enforcing it seems a bit strange.

Comment by: Alan P on 27th May 2020 at 22:08

Graham, my parents didn’t bat an eyelid. The only thing they were slightly sympathetic with were the freezing cold dormitories in the winter. We wore our school jumpers When it was really cold but had to remember to take them off before we were woken up by matron or the house master. Swimming naked was fine, it was just normal. I always enjoyed it.

Comment by: Alan P on 27th May 2020 at 22:00

At my all boys prep boarding school in the 1970’s, pyjamas were on the clothing list but from about the age of 9 never worn. You could wear them if you had a letter but no one did that. Never a complaint except when it was bitterly cold. Same as swimming trunks, on list but never worn

Comment by: Graham on 27th May 2020 at 21:54

Alan P
What did your own parents, and the parents of all the other boys, think about this?

Comment by: Graham on 27th May 2020 at 21:43

Alan P
What did your own parents, and the parents of all the other boys, think about this?

Comment by: Alan P on 27th May 2020 at 14:06

At my all boys prep boarding school in the 1970’s, pyjamas were on the clothing list but from about the age of 9 never worn. You could wear them if you had a letter but no one did that. Never a complaint except when it was bitterly cold. Same as swimming trunks, on list but never worn

Comment by: Chris G on 24th May 2020 at 15:43

John
I wouldn't exactly say that I was "made" to go back to wearing a PJ top in the winter. We were very much a PJ-wearing household in those days, and when I was invited to ditch my PJ top, it was on the understanding that I would go back to wearing it when the hot weather came to an end, something I was happy to go along with. It was nearly November before Mum commented meaningfully that the nights were getting colder, softening the blow with the promise that "next summer" wasn't very far away. Having enjoyed my brief period of freedom, I made sure that "next summer" came around rather more rapidly than Mum expected, and for some strange reason that Mum never understood, "next winter" lasted barely a couple of months. Subsequent winters failed to appear at all!

Comment by: Chris G on 24th May 2020 at 15:31

Emma
I can readily identify with your comments about peer group influence among children. When bare-chested PE was introduced at my secondary school when I was about 13 (late 1950s), most of us were initially apprehensive at the prospect of appearing topless in front of our classmates, despite happily stripping down to shorts or swimming trunks in a pool, at the beach or park and in our back gardens. But by the end of the first week we took bare-chested PE for granted, and nobody in my class wanted to revert to wearing a vest for hot sweaty exercise.

But it went further than that. For most of us, PE tops had been our everyday underwear vests, few parents having sufficient spare cash for dedicated PE tops, used only a couple of hours a week during term time. Taking our lead from a small group of lads who proudly never wore vests, even in winter, the remainder of us habitual vest wearers progressively stopped putting our vests back on after PE, then not wearing them to school on PE days, and within a couple of weeks, virtually all of us had stopped wearing vests altogether. Mum had a few, ultimately fruitless, words to say on the matter, fairly easily dismissed by the traditional kids claim that "everybody/nobody does . . .". Such is the power of the peer group.

Comment by: Emma on 24th May 2020 at 14:43

John - what a lovely and kind comment. Thank you. Are you a parent?

Comment by: John on 24th May 2020 at 07:03

Emma,
I think that you and your husband are really great parents.

Comment by: Emma on 23rd May 2020 at 23:40

Graham - well our oldest was 10 when he started boarding but he followed the other boys at school in abandoning wearing pjs around about 13 if I remember. His two brothers just followed their elder brother rather along the lines as your sister followed you. It never bothered me in the slightest. All harmless stuff. Hubby may have been an influence but l really believe children are largely influenced by their peer group - you know how they adopt their own fashion and codes - identity shaping

Comment by: Emma on 22nd May 2020 at 23:20

Graham - well our oldest was 10 when he started boarding but he followed the other boys at school in abandoning wearing pjs around about 13 if I remember. His two brothers just followed their elder brother rather along the lines as your sister followed you. It never bothered me in the slightest. All harmless stuff. Hubby may have been an influence but l really believe children are largely influenced by their peer group - you know how they adopt their own fashion and codes - identity shaping

Comment by: Graham on 22nd May 2020 at 17:26

Emma
Boys will be boys! And girls too, given the speed with which my copy-cat sister discarded her own skimpy nightwear once she got wind of my new bedtime fashion.

You said you allowed your boys to sleep naked at home once they started doing it at boarding school. How old were they then, and did they usually wear PJs before they went away to school? Did they actually ask your approval, or was it accepted as a fait accomplis without further discussion?

When I went home at half-term with my PJs still in their wrappers, Dad joked that there was probably still time for them to go back to the shop for a refund (there was), while Mum instinctively, and correctly, deduced that I would no longer need the PJ bottoms I was sleeping in before I went away and quietly removed them from my bedroom without further comment! Both laughingly agreed that while PJs featured on the boarders' clothing list, nothing was said about actually wearing them, hinting that they might follow my example.

Comment by: Emma on 21st May 2020 at 15:52

Graham - yes, your situation reflects that of my husband. He tells me that he returned home without his pjs ever having been used. Our boys had pjs too but the school seemed not to enforcing its own regulations with regard to them being worn in the 'seniors', at least it saved us the unnecessary expense of buying further pairs!

Comment by: Graham on 21st May 2020 at 00:38

Emma - Boarding school at age 11 for me. Despite not having worn a PJ top for several years, Mum insisted that I took 3 brand new PJ sets as specified, only to find that birthday suits were de facto sleepwear throughout the school. She and Dad were quite amused at half term when I arrived home with them still in their wrappers.

Comment by: Emma on 20th May 2020 at 19:36

Graham - definitely their boarding school but also some influence of their dad but he was an ex boarder! How about yourself and what about your own offspring?

Comment by: Graham on 20th May 2020 at 13:32

Emma - what made your boys choose to sleep naked. Was it the influence of boarding school life, or your own parental suggestion?

Comment by: Emma on 20th May 2020 at 05:41

We have allowed our boys to sleep naked ever since they started at boarding school to do so. Seems a healthier aspect for males too. Only in winter do they make a grab for a tshirt!

Comment by: John on 19th May 2020 at 20:30

Chris G,
It was good that your parents suggested that you slept shirtless but they shouldn’t have made you wear a pj top in the winter. I started sleeping shirtless on my return from school camp aged 12. Males have a higher upper body temperature than women so it’s a much healthier and more comfortable way for guys to sleep.

Comment by: Chris G on 19th May 2020 at 00:21

Andrew H, I was just a few months short of 11 when I first slept topless, but it was at Mum and Dad's suggestion during an extended spell of hot weather, rather than an outright order, and a suggestion I was more than happy to go along with. Unfortunately, once the cooler weather returned, I was expected to wear my PJ top again. However, it was a step in the right direction. Over the next few years I progressively extended the topless season a bit further each year until by the time I went away to boarding school at 15, I had been continuously sleeping topless for well over a year. When I got to my new school, I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone slept bare-chested, so I fitted in immediately.

Comment by: Andrew H on 18th May 2020 at 17:43

Wow this brings back memories. Our school had a bare chest policy for PE and Games with no exceptions from the age of 9-18. The school was mixed but we did share the gym very rarely. There was a small blackboard attached to the wall with the word "Skins" written just in case you'd forgotten.The gym windows were reinforced glass and ran the length of the gym it was easy for the girls to watch us especially with staggered lunch queues whic formed in the corridor and the girls took full advantage. There was the expectation to perform cross country runs and laps of the field also, which could be quite harsh depending on the time of year. I took a good few of them, usually for not paying attention in English lessons. It was common to see lads doing laps of the field and outdoor exercise or football whatever the weather. My parents fully supported the schools stance having boys strip to the waist and when I turned 11 my dad told me I'd sleep topless and stop wearing a vest to bed. I remember my elder sisters had a good laugh at that.

Comment by: John on 18th May 2020 at 10:00

Andrew H,
You clearly went to a good school and had sensible parents, I can’t understand why your sisters thought that it was funny for your dad to make you sleep barechested. I wish my dad had got me to sleep shirtless at 11 as he’d have saved me the huge embarrassment of going on school camp age 12 with a full set of pjs. Other lads made fun of me for not already sleeping shirtless as a 12 year old.

Comment by: Andrew H on 17th May 2020 at 22:46

Wow this brings back memories. Our school had a bare chest policy for PE and Games with no exceptions from the age of 9-18. The school was mixed but we did share the gym very rarely. There was a small blackboard attached to the wall with the word "Skins" written just in case you'd forgotten.The gym windows were reinforced glass and ran the length of the gym it was easy for the girls to watch us especially with staggered lunch queues whic formed in the corridor and the girls took full advantage. There was the expectation to perform cross country runs and laps of the field also, which could be quite harsh depending on the time of year. I took a good few of them, usually for not paying attention in English lessons. It was common to see lads doing laps of the field and outdoor exercise or football whatever the weather. My parents fully supported the schools stance having boys strip to the waist and when I turned 11 my dad told me I'd sleep topless and stop wearing a vest to bed. I remember my elder sisters had a good laugh at that.