Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

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Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 203,169
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: 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.

Comment by: Chris T on 17th May 2020 at 17:08

Showing sweat demonstrates the benefits of good PE teachers and a sensible approach to a PE kit.

Comment by: Toby P on 7th May 2020 at 17:55

Hi Daniel & Chris, thanks for your replies. It's funny by instructing half the class to strip to the waist it added a big element of competition to the lessons, certainly on the gym it was normal for all boys to show sweat either on their bare tops or with vests sticking to tops too.

Comment by: Daniel on 4th May 2020 at 12:25

Toby P - like you I was one of those boys regularly picked to do PE bare chested, although more in the gym and for football than cross country. A few times my teacher decided to have us run in teams rather than as individuals, with each boy scoring points for his finishing, so half the class - including me - were instructed to take our vests off. As I recall the bare chested team tended to be more successful - maybe it encouraged us to run that bit faster?

Comment by: Chris G on 3rd May 2020 at 00:30

Toby P - When I started at my first school, we were expected to wear vests all the time for PE. Once topless PE was introduced we were all expected to strip, and we were all quite happy to do so. At my second school, vests were required to be worn all the time, except for the end-of-term measurenent/weighing session. So there no one was ever singled out to strip, we either all did or none of us did.

Comment by: Toby P on 2nd May 2020 at 19:39

Chris, I was always sporty throughout school and was singled out by the teachers to strip off for every session. Indoors was fine and made sense but before every cross country our teacher picked half the class (around 15/17 of us ) to strip off our vests and run bare chested. When I asked about continuously being stripped off outside I was told it increased my toughness, physique and I was a young man! We also did the same for football with vests being left on the sideline. Did you find your teachers picked certain boys to strip far more than others?

Comment by: Chris G on 2nd May 2020 at 13:37

John

While it is certainly true, as comments here demonstrate, that many schoolboys ran cross-country bare-chested in the past, I can vouch for the fact that this was not always the case, and in many cases it was not even an option.

During my, now rather distant, schooldays in the fifties and sixties, I attended two secondary schools, in both of which cross-country running formed part of the exercise regime. At the first of these, I was among a minority of day-boys at a small boarding school in a country town in the English south midlands. When I arrived, standard PE kit was shorts and vests, underwear or commando optional, but after I had been there a couple of years, topless PE was introduced throughout the school, a development that was widely welcomed. When it came to outdoor activities, however, tops were required at all times, and especially whenever we left the school premises for runs. At my second school, in a rural location in the northern home counties, where I was part of the majority boarding population, tops were required for all sporting and PE activities, especially those, such as runs, taking us off the premises, although there were a few lads who were bold enough to strip off their tops once they were out of sight of human habitation. The only time that we were allowed to be topless in the gym being at the regular end-of-term weight/height measurement session.

So, I would submit that the picture is an accurate representation of the cross-country running dress-code at some boys secondary schools for the indicated period (1959), even down to the motley collection of tops and shorts being worn.

Comment by: John on 1st May 2020 at 07:32

To return to discussion about this photo I can’t understand why these lads are not stripped to the waist for cross country as so many schools made lads run during that era. It also seems strange that even if they had been allowed to wear shirts or vests that by the time that they were at the end of their run that most of them hadn’t got really hot and sweaty and taken their tops off.

Comment by: Tyrone on 16th April 2020 at 15:34

David R.
As you say in years gone by no one worried about ball blacking or other such initiations. I never experienced that, but at my first scout camp, I do remember being told "something would happen one night" I just had to wait. It turned out that the custom was when we were in our sleeping bags, We would be dragged out of it by the older scouts our pyjamas removed and pushed out of the tent and made to run round the field once naked. It happened it was done with and that was it. Needles to say when I was one of the older scouts I help carry out the same initiation with the new younger scouts. That is how life was.

Comment by: David R on 16th April 2020 at 04:47

There's some wonderful, evocative memories here. Essentially, those early experiences of communal showers after PE or having to be on the 'skins' team taught us as much about learning to accept things and just get on with it as it did about sporting skills. Even, as William mentioned last October, a ball blacking was just one of those things that happened.

Comment by: Biggles on 13th April 2020 at 03:04

Mr.Dando,
Since you do such thorough research about school PE kit requirements and post them here, have you ever come across schools that mention nude swimming for boys in their curriculum?

I remember long ago seeing such a school curriculum which stated in the list of PE clothing requirements that stated "Swimsuits are not required for boys."

Comment by: Sterling on 10th April 2020 at 15:41

Mr Dando, There are already teacher shortages. Why would anyone enter a profession that subjects them to the constant stink of hordes of sweaty teenagers. Abolishing showers in schools would be irresponsible and regressive. Surely students in 2020 Should be able to shower in privacy.

Comment by: Leeds Lad on 10th April 2020 at 07:45

"Like the Octopus I have an 8 point plan for effective child protection."

Ha ha! Very witty. I like that!

Comment by: Mr Dando on 9th April 2020 at 20:26

Happy Easter and let us hope with Good Friday and the Covid 19 self-isolation all pupils get a permanent respite from the dreaded school shower.

Like the Octopus I have an 8 point plan for effective child protection.

1 Abolish all school showers

2 Boys to wear rash vests or one piece suits in the swimming pool.

3 No forced change of underwear rules for PE.

4 Both boys and girls to be allowed to wear tracksuits and bottoms for indoor and outdoor PE, regardless of inclement weather.

5 No requirement for boys to wear white shorts when girls get to wear black shorts.

6 No bare foot PE for indoor games. All pupils to wear socks and trainers to prevent foot infections.

7 All pupils to change in cubicles not open plan changing rooms.

8 Gender neutral sport activities so that boys are not forced to do rugby & football while girls do hockey and netball.

Here is another school that has a mandatory towel requirement for its pupils.

https://www.uffculmeschool.net/sites/default/files/users/Hannah/School%20Uniform%20oct%202018%20update.pdf

Boys will also need:

• black PE shorts (cycling shorts and long shorts are unsuitable)
• rugby shirt with house colour
• black football socks
• football boots and shin pads
• towel for shower
• gum shield

Girls will also need:
• black PE shorts or ‘skort’ (cycling shorts and long shorts are unsuitable)
• black football socks
• football boots and shin pads
• towel for shower
• gum shield

Pupils may be allowed to wear black tracksuit trousers or a black Uffculme PE hoodie (at the
discretion of the PE teacher). Sweatshirts with the School logo on can be purchased from our
suppliers.

Optional:
• Black or white underarmour
• Black leggings for dance and trampolining only
Outdoor Clothing
• A waterproof coat is needed for some school activities, such as fieldwork and for movement to the detached classrooms.
• Denim jackets, leather type jackets and hoodies are not permitted, with the exception of the official Uffculme PE hoodies, which may be worn for PE only.

Let us learn from our recent history of state sponsored child abuse to become a voice for the voiceless!

Comment by: John Silver on 9th April 2020 at 04:59

Mr.Dando probably wore longjohns for PE and for swimming, with long sleeve vest to match.

Comment by: Leeds Lad on 6th April 2020 at 10:52

I must admit, it does seems strange that Mr. Dando is so against what is no biggie for the rest of us these days. Maybe he had an upsetting incident in his youth? I recall a Kenneth Williams song where the last line was "There's an octopus up my dando!" Who's to say the same thing didn't happen to him whilst he wasn't covered up, and he's been scarred for life?!

Comment by: John on 28th March 2020 at 08:49

Tim H,
Like you I am also in complete agreement with Anon.

Comment by: Biggles on 28th March 2020 at 04:55

I don't think anyone can take Mr.Dando seriously.

Comment by: TimH on 27th March 2020 at 18:46

Just to say that like Andrea & William I am in complete agreement with Anon.

Comment by: William on 27th March 2020 at 14:25

Anon
No, you are not alone. I suspect you have written what many contributors think. Not only is the constant repetition tedious, it is also frustrating that the contributor in question hardly ever responds to the points made against him relating to hygiene, fitness and bodily confidence.

He is also reticent about what drives him. He cites child protection but the vast majority in this country would think it daft to suggest that child protection requires boys to have their chests covered for swimming and their legs covered for gym. That would be a most extreme form of modesty, but there is no point speculating about motive because he asserts but he does not discuss, and thus I for one have stopped responding to his comments.

Comment by: Andrea on 27th March 2020 at 08:36

Further to the comments by Anon, it is futile for Mr Dando to be conducting his campaign on Historyworld anyway.

School uniform policies are a matter for individual school governing bodies and I doubt whether many of them base their decisions on the content of a forum dedicated to historical pictures.