Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

Childhood > Schools

877 Comments

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 182,705
Item #: 1602
Led by Stuart Bennett (Captain), right, the cross-country team returns from a practice run around the nearby country-side.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, November 1959

Comment by: Andrew H on 10th June 2020 at 23:08

We always did cross country stripped to the waist. It was great after being in a stuffy classroom to have rain or the cold air against your bare chest/back. We always had plimmies on though.

Comment by: Ross on 10th June 2020 at 07:21

Andy how did that first shirtless and barefoot run feel? Did you enjoy it or learn to like running that way? I always found running barefoot and shirtless quite refreshing and invigorating even in the rain as long as you kept moving that is. Plus I wasn't bogged down with a heavy wet shirt or plimsols

Comment by: Josh H on 9th June 2020 at 09:25

I know that I am moving away from the idea of the original postings re P.E. and I apologise but I would like to make the following observations.
Tom B: I agree with your latest posting and I think what is missing form some of these young lives is a father figure, or male role model.
Bernard: I also agree with your comments. Let boys be boys. There is too much of the softly softly approach today.

Comment by: Andy on 9th June 2020 at 08:16

I changed schools at 13.

The old one had full pe kit indoors, and pe shorts, rugby shirt, socks and trainers for cross country. Cross country didn’t take place in very bad weather.

Indoor pe in my new school was just shorts, which was strange but ok, then a couple of days later we had cross country. It was cold and pouring with rain, and while I brought kit I expected it to be cancelled. My classmates soon put mr right, and we all turned up at the gym to change. Soon I realised other boys were ready, but were stripped to the waist and had nothing on their feet. One of my new mates said take your rugby shirt off, we just run in shorts, that’s all. I looked around and realised it was bare feet as well. Hurry up my mate said waiting for me, or we’ll both get caned. I rapidly stripped the top and plimsolls off, and went outside, rain pouring down my bare back

Comment by: Bernard on 8th June 2020 at 21:42

Tom - I think you have a very good point. This also shows the extent of the damage done by the so-called feminists. We really need to get back to letting boys be boys.

Comment by: Tom B on 8th June 2020 at 14:56

I do wonder if the kind of hardened masculinity developed by such activity is something missing from the lives of boys who turn to gangs, violence and criminality.

Comment by: Ross on 7th June 2020 at 08:04

John, agreed running shirtless was great and running cross country in winter shirtless and barefoot even when there was snow on the ground was simply refreshing and invigorating as long as you kept moving that is.

Comment by: Bernard on 6th June 2020 at 23:14

Yes Ross, I did cross country barefoot and shirtless and thoroughly enjoyed it most of the time.
I'm sure it was good for the development of various muscles and if any-one had been injured the school would have stopped the barefoot part.

Comment by: John on 6th June 2020 at 19:15

Ross,
I wouldn’t have minded running barefoot around playing fields but on country paths there were often a lot of large stones. Perhaps if I’d been made to run barefoot I might have enjoyed it, I could just be making assumptions. Doing cross country shirtless was more enjoyable than having to run wearing a shirt or vest.

Comment by: Ross on 5th June 2020 at 07:20

John, I don't recall myself or any other lad ever having any foot related injuries from running around barefoot for the cross country. Id probably say we actually benefited from running barefoot as this helped develop foot strength, ankle support and good for the legs.

Bernard, did you do PE and cross country barefoot and shirtless?

Comment by: John on 4th June 2020 at 16:15

Hi Andrew H, you had great parents, I wish that mine hadn’t made me wear a vest underneath my school shirt. My mum thought that it would stop me getting childhood coughs and chest infections; I got those from inhaling my dad’s cigarette smoke. Bare chested PE was a great policy, most lads prefer to do PE shirtless when they get the opportunity to experience it. I’m so glad that I was able to benefit from it and it’s wrong that lads don’t get the chance in the present day.

Comment by: Andrew H on 3rd June 2020 at 20:55

Hi John, I started middle school 2 months after my 9th birthday. My parents never bothered with vests so I never wore one. The High School I attended also had a bare chested policy and with no exceptions all lads stripped to the waist. It kind of surprised some lads who'd wore vests throughout middle school but they soon got used to showing their barechests too.

Comment by: Bernard on 3rd June 2020 at 13:18

I agree with Ross - barefoot and stripped to the waist is the best way for boys to do all p.e. - in the gym; on the playing fields and for cross country. It is the simplest and healthiest kit for any exercise.
I fear poor old Mr Dando has a very unhealthy obsession about covering up. Perhaps some strange, unfortunate experience left him mentally scarred for life while most people who had the benefit of a limited p.e. kit enjoyed the freedom it gave them.

Comment by: Josh H on 3rd June 2020 at 10:30

As I have recorded previously I attended an all boys secondary school from 1961 to 1966. We never queried the fact that pe was done shirtless and we never queried the no pants rule. For outside games(which was a different lesson not to be confused with pe) we did wear a top for which there was no particular uniform. If hot then we would remove our top. But the no pants rule still applied.
I have seen the various comments for and against wearing a top during pe, and I think it is better without a top because if you are using the wall bars or climbing up ropes or participating in other exercises, you can see the definition that you are getting.
I am sorry to say that in my son's secondary school pe is now just relegated games ie football , tennis etc depending on season. No real "exercise". That is reserved only for the students who have selected to follow pe or gymnastics etc as a GCSE course.
I think "real" pe with exercises should be introduced to all ages at school bearing in mind the sedentary lifestyle of many young people these days.

Comment by: John on 2nd June 2020 at 22:52

Andrew H,
So I take it that your Primary School introduced shirtless PE for boys from age 9, I bet you were pleased that you weren’t made to wear a shirt or vest anymore and could enjoy exercising more comfortably. I agree with your comments and it seems that Feminists have committed abuse towards males by preventing them from exercising shirtless at school.

Comment by: Andrew H on 2nd June 2020 at 21:10

Stripping to the waist is in no way child abuse. From 9 to 18 I never felt it inappropriate exercising topless/shirtless it felt normal and my parents definitely approved. I know my classmates didn't object to stripping off more so when the girls were watching and this always was a topic of light-hearted banter with them. I also always boxed topless in fact I cannot remember an opponent ever wearing a vest, it's not something I'd have wanted to do either. Boys should be encouraged to strip off for PE/Games and the confidence it brings also benefits in later life. The only reason why the practice stopped wasn't to benefit boys but due to the out of control feminists who don't want boys to become men. And you wonder why there's so many boys having issues identifying with gender...

Comment by: John on 1st June 2020 at 22:25

Mr Dando, As someone who as a child did PE shirtless, I did not consider it in any way to be ‘child abuse’ and still don’t. It is wrong to make lads wear a shirt for indoor PE so that they become hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. Most male gymnasts train shirtless because they find it more comfortable, it is natural for males to enjoy exercising shirtless.

Comment by: Chris G on 1st June 2020 at 19:59

John@
Not only did we raise the issue with the PE master (rx-Army PE instructor, but human with it), but also to the Headmaster, but with no success. Occasaionally, when we har cross-country runs, some of us took our tops off once we weere out of sightof the school buildings, but that was the limit of our rebellion.

Mr Dando:
"Chris G, tops must always be required to end systematic child abuse in UK schools."
I have experienced PE classes both wearing a top and topless, with no hint of child abuse in either configuration. And I can say from personal experience that introduction of topless PE at my first secondary school was universally welcomed, and that during three years at my second school, there was near continuous, but sadly fruitless, agitation for topless PE.

Comment by: John on 1st June 2020 at 17:42

Chris G,
That must have been so uncomfortable being made to wear a shirt for PE, did you ever dare to ask the Head of PE why it was considered necessary to wear shirts when you’d get hot and sweaty exercising?.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 1st June 2020 at 17:25

Chris G, tops must always be required to end systematic child abuse in UK schools. Let us join together and end the mandatory shower requirement in all educational institutions. https://www.crickhowell-hs.powys.sch.uk/ shows a school that offends common decency.

Both Boys and Girls

Predominantly white PE top with collar (polo shirt)
Maroon Football/Rugby/Hockey socks
Clean training shoes – with non-marking soles
Short white socks
Towel
Tracksuit (Optional)
Boys Specifically

Black cotton/nylon shorts
White cotton/nylon shorts
Black/Maroon outdoor sports shirt, available only from Price and Buckland
Football/Rugby boots
Girls Specifically

Maroon skort
Maroon nylon satin finish shorts
Black/Maroon outdoor sports shirt, available only from Price and Buckland.

There should be no towel requirement and girls should not be forced to wear skorts while boys wear shorts.

Let all genders have their legs covered with tracksuits and end the shower requirement once and for all.

The end of the UK lockdown in British schools must not result in the invasion of privacy to our children. We cannot rescind the historical abuses of power that occurred to ourselves but we can improve the rights of future generations!

Comment by: Pete on 1st June 2020 at 12:35

Chris G, that must have felt strange, firstly dropping your vest just to put it on a couple of years later. My school rigidly enforced it's bare chested policy to the point where lads in my class who wore vests under their school shirts stopped wearing them by the time they were 12. Did you find when you wore a vest that you'd sweat more and did it stick to your top?

Comment by: Chris G on 1st June 2020 at 00:13

Pete, Although I was quite pleased to be changing schools at 15, I was most definitely not a "happy bunny" when I found out that my new school required tops for PE at all times! And they had to be a particular style, not just ordinary underwear singlet but a clingy round-necked garment. In compensation, although pyjamas were on the clothing list, almost everyone slept bare-chested, something I had been doing for a couple of years anyway.

Comment by: Pete on 31st May 2020 at 23:06

Chris G, that must have felt strange, firstly dropping your vest just to put it on a couple of years later. My school rigidly enforced it's bare chested policy to the point where lads in my class who wore vests under their school shirts stopped wearing them by the time they were 12. Did you find when you wore a vest that you'd sweat more and did it stick to your top?

Comment by: Chris G on 31st May 2020 at 22:16

Angus
Like you, I experienced both versions of PE kit, vests and topless. Unlike many here, though, I experienced the transition in both directions, vest to topless at age 13, when the while school changed policy, and topless back to vest, at 15, when I changed schools. Like most, if not all, mothers in the 1950s, my own Mum was a keen on vests. Until I was about ten, I was expected to wear a vest 24/7, including under my PJs, and my underwear vest doubled as my PE top until bare-chested PE was introduced.

Comment by: John on 31st May 2020 at 00:51

Angus,
I was 9 when the Headteacher told us that from now on boys would only wear shorts for PE. We used to get undressed for PE in the classroom and our class teacher used to have to say “boys strip to the waist”, he did this for a few weeks until we were used to the new PE kit rule. Like you I felt a bit self conscious at first but soon got used to it and like other lads found it more comfortable doing PE barechested. I’m glad that they introduced shirtless PE, it would have been good if lads had been introduced to it when starting year one at the infant school.

Comment by: John on 31st May 2020 at 00:50

Angus,
I was 9 when the Headteacher told us that from now on boys would only wear shorts for PE. We used to get undressed for PE in the classroom and our class teacher used to have to say “boys strip to the waist”, he did this for a few weeks until we were used to the new PE kit rule. Like you I felt a bit self conscious at first but soon got used to it and like other lads found it more comfortable doing PE barechested. I’m glad that they introduced shirtless PE, it would have been good if lads had been introduced to it when starting year one at the infant school.

Comment by: Angus on 31st May 2020 at 00:12

John, hiw old were you when they changed the rules about PE kit? I wondered because I also experienced both versions, having changed schools at 14. Until then I'd always worn a vest for PE but when I switched I was surprised to discover the rules were different for boys at my new school, with only shorts permitted. I found it weird and a bit uncomfortable suddenly having to do it bare chested, but obviously the others all saw it as normal and after a few lessons I realised there were many advantages.

Comment by: John on 30th May 2020 at 20:50

Ross,
I totally agree that bare chested PE is best; having done PE wearing a shirt and when the rules changed to make lads do PE stripped to the waist. Shirts are unnecessary but foot protection whilst doing cross country is sensible in order to prevent feet from injury.

Comment by: Ross on 30th May 2020 at 07:15

Bare chest and barefoot is the best way to do all PE in or out from gymnastics to cross country all that is needed is a pair of shorts.

Comment by: Pete W on 29th May 2020 at 18:00

Being bare chested to exercise should be an integral part of PE at school. If the effort is going in, boys will sweat up.