Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

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Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Year: 1935
Views: 221,428
Item #: 1741
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

Comment by: Toby on 27th September 2012 at 23:32

I got on the wrong side of one PE teacher immediately for failing to take off the medallion I used to wear on a chain around my neck. He was really strict about kit regulations and warned me I'd be in serious trouble if he saw it again in his class. We had two PE teachers, the other one was more easy going and I continued to wear the medallion for his lessons but unfortunately the strict teacher was covering for him one day and all hell broke loose.
I had to take off the medallion, which he confiscated, and then announced that if I couldn't follow the kit rules he'd make them easier for me. Which meant I had to take off my vest, socks and shoes there and then and do the class in just shorts, barefoot and barechested. From then on that was my kit for the gym and for cross country I was allowed running shoes but still no top. It was humiliating as every other boy got to wear full kit while I was made to do each PE lesson stripped to the waist for the rest of the year.
Not surprisingly I had to put up with some pretty sarcastic comments from the other boys and those, along with cross country on a chilly morning, made PE a miserable experience. Even the other teacher's lessons brought no relief as the stricter one was head of PE and ensured that my punishment was always enforced. Even in the summer term when we did athletics on the track, I was the only boy who had to run barechested.
Eventually I got the medallion back but I never dared to wear it for PE again.

Comment by: Andrew on 27th September 2012 at 18:13

Different teachers often had varying rules about what they let you wear for PE. I had one teacher who didn't mind what colour shirt or shorts you brought, and others who would give you detention just for wearing the wrong socks!

Comment by: Paul on 26th September 2012 at 07:11

Our official PE uniform was vest and shorts but one year we had a new teacher who made us all be stripped to the waist both in the gym and for cross-country.

Comment by: Connor on 30th August 2012 at 21:21

I agree that barechested PE makes boys more inclined to look after their bodies. I left school as recently as the 90s and our PE kit was white vest, shorts and trainers until I was 14. Then a new head of PE came in and felt that standards of health and fitness were poor, so he increased the number of PE sessions per week and also changed the kit - girls stayed the same, but we boys now had to go barechested. That included the one session each week that boys and girls did together! At first there were some complaints from boys and parents but in the end we had to get on with it. Knowing that my body was on display to everyone, including girls, gave me an incentive to work harder in PE and I even started doing extra stuff like weights too. By the next year I was much fitter and receiving some complimentary remarks about my physique from girls as well!

Comment by: Paul on 24th August 2012 at 08:24

I agree with those who point out that "health and safety" dictates a lot of what happens in PE lessons today.Prior to the 1970's lads stripped to the waist for games whatever the conditions as a matter of course whether they liked it or not.

Comment by: James on 3rd August 2012 at 19:27

Brian, We were stripped off both outdoors and inside. We had to change into vests but our teacher split us either into all skins or teams of skins and vests. I should have added each house was split into 3 classes for each year

Comment by: James on 2nd August 2012 at 20:58

Hi Dave, Our's was a co-ed school in NE England in the 80's but we were separated for PE and Games lessons. The inter house competitions were a big thing throughout the school. Fitness competitions were a school thing and each house would select 6 boys from each year group to compete. The fitness competition comprised of repetitions of press ups, pull ups, squats, sit ups and shuttle runs. The girls loved it because they got to cheer everyone in their year group on, with the added bonus of seeing us all barechested and visibly sweating. Each fitness competition lasted for an hour, and it was pretty close to non stop activity. The winners took each other on in the final and the other 2 houses went against each other to avoid the wooden spoon.

Comment by: Brian on 31st July 2012 at 07:41

Unlike James our PE was always done stripped to the waist both inside and outdoors whatever the weather.I'm sure that the girls used to enjoy seeing the sixth form youths stripped to the waist many showing off their hairy chests.

Comment by: Dave on 29th July 2012 at 23:34

James, were your lessons co-ed sometimes having the girls with you? What does a fitness competition mean? Is it a public competition among schools?
Which decade was it? Was it in England?

Comment by: James on 28th July 2012 at 16:41

Our PE lessons were either done with all the boys stripped to the waist or with half left in vests. The girls all looked forward to seeing your vest coming off outside especially in autumn/winter when it was nice and cold.

When it came to picking the teams for inter house competitions obviously there was a lot of good natured banter about who to pick and who would they'd like to see from other houses. For inter house competitions like basketball, it was skins and vests and if you wore a vest for the first half, you'd be barechested for the second half. Fitness competitions were done with all the boys barechested and distinguished by different coloured shorts, while cross country competitions were skins and vests which made a change from everyone being made to run barechested....if your team was lucky enough to be picked to wear a vest!!

Comment by: Tim on 26th July 2012 at 14:39

I agree with Stephen that being stripped to the waist made us all concerned with keeping our bodies in shape especially when we did cross-country in the local area and the locals(especially girls) would be watchning our bodies carefully!!!

Comment by: Stephen on 23rd July 2012 at 16:32

Of course being stripped to the waist made you look after your bodies and indeed become quite proud of them!!!

Comment by: Peter on 19th July 2012 at 08:03

Nigel is right.Lads in junior school aged from seven to eleven had to do PE while stripped to the waist even outdoors in the cold.

Comment by: Nigel on 16th July 2012 at 19:14

In the fifties and sixties lads had no choice about what to wear for PE.If the rules said you did it stripped to the waist(and they usually did)then you stripped to the waist and got on with it.

Comment by: Mark on 30th June 2012 at 07:49

Like Geoff and the others we did PE stripped to the waist and accepted it as normal.It certainly toughened us up.It would do the hoodies we see around good to do tough physical exercise while stripped to the waist.

Comment by: Geoff on 25th June 2012 at 16:22

As has been said youths have it easy these days.When I was at school we did PE stripped to the waist both indoors and outside whatever the weather.This also included cross-country along the adjacent streets.The locals could be heard commenting about our bodies.However this meant that going about bare-chested made us used to seeing our torsos and made some of us proud of them!!

Comment by: Colin on 23rd June 2012 at 13:24

The youths of today need toughening up.Doing PE etc outdoors while stripped to the waist would be the right way to do this.

Comment by: Alastair on 23rd June 2012 at 08:31

Mike A is right.In the fifties and sixties we all did PE etc stripped to the waist and lads should be stripped to the waist today for games etc

Comment by: David on 22nd June 2012 at 08:12

Like Paul I remember one boy who never wore a vest for PE and eventually more and more lads followed suit so that the entire class went stripped to the waist.

Comment by: Mike A on 22nd June 2012 at 00:31

I've read many accounts with the same theme i.e. Vests or T-shirts being on the official uniform but being prohibited by the sadist ex-military PE teacher. Our official regular PT (as it was called back then) kit was white shorts and black plimsolls, no shirt, underwear or socks listed. No matter how bitterly cold it was, we still had only brief shorts to wear. We had weekly cross-country and just like The Yorkist on 16th April 2012, we also ran bare chest through the town to comments from the locals about our physiques. Unlike today their were no obese teenagers. We trained hard and cared for our bodies. I think the fact that our torsos were on display made us care.
I agree with Nigel, on 18th April 2012, that boys should be stripped to the waist. As with many fads and fashions we are following the example set in the USA where Physical Education is being set aside as school budgets are squeezed, and where it is still mandatory many schools no longer require a shower afterwards. Communal shower blocks have been completely decommissioned and used for storage. Many boys in the US are so ashamed and prudish that they will not shower together, hence sweating is avoided and instead of getting young hearts pumping they are tasked with expressive dance lessons!
In the U.K. we are following suit, as will an obesity and diabetes epidemic!

Comment by: Jeremy on 18th June 2012 at 12:54

Chris is right and we all did PE stripped to the waist(and barefoot)thinking nothing of it.

Comment by: Chris on 8th June 2012 at 13:22

21st Century youths have it easy these days!!!When I was at school we did games etc strip;ped to the waist anf just on with it.Anyone who complained would most likely be made to do press-up outside and stripped to the waist for up to an hour.

Comment by: Colin on 29th May 2012 at 13:12

I think the reason why schools want boys to wear T shirts is the influence of the PC/Health and safety zealots. I am sure that most boys would have no difficuly in being stripped to the waist and even those who initially didn't like it would come round to doing bare-chest PE in the end.

Comment by: Roy on 24th May 2012 at 07:45

I think that Paul and Dave are correct.When I was at school I had no problem about being stripped to the waist for games etc.I don't think other lads worried either and many of us went barefoot as well.

Comment by: Paul on 22nd May 2012 at 07:29

I think Dave is correct as I remember one particular lad who would always be stripped to the waist even when others wore vests.I don't think he even had a vest.

Comment by: Dave on 21st May 2012 at 06:45

I think most boys dont'mind being stripped to the waist even for P.E. They don't wear shirts for swimming lessons. What's the difference? So I can't see why most schools require shirts for P.E. nowadays even as vests are vanishing from P.E. kit lists being replaced by T-shirts.

Comment by: Mike on 20th May 2012 at 07:55

There seems to be some inconsistency.Boys object to being stripped to the waist for PE but many lads seem to have no objection to walking around bare-chested at other times.

Comment by: Alasdair on 15th May 2012 at 15:39

There was more discipline in schools in the fifties and sixties and if you had to do PE stripped to thne waist you just got on with it.

Comment by: Gary. on 10th May 2012 at 07:25

School rules said that you did PE stripped to the waist(and sometimes barefoot as well).If anyone complained more than likely he would receive up to six strokes of the cane while stripped to the waist

Comment by: Richard on 6th May 2012 at 07:50

Why are lads so reticent about being stripped to the waist for P E these days? As others have said in the sixties if you were a boy you stripped to the waist and thought nothing of it.