Burnley Grammar School
Item #: 1607
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, December 1959
I think 12, 13, 14. Same for spanking.
How about you?
James: the punishment was not getting shorts or any pants then.
Daniel63: I suppose I was about the same age when I received a spanking.,but not wearing shorts was not seen as a punishment.
I think 12, 13, 14. Same for spanking.
How about you?
Daniel63: that sounds a bit harsh to be made to go without shorts,at least a spanking would soon be over.
How old were you when you were not having to wear your shorts?
James: consequences were mostly a spanking. Or: not having to wear my shorts but I didn't get any other pants then.
Daniel63: may I ask what the consequences would have been if you had refused to wear your shorts? yes, I did refuse to wear my shorts if people were coming round,but to no avail.I was teased considerably for wearing shorts which I considered unfair as I didn't wear them by choice.
I mainly wore just my shorts at home,but when I was taken out I wore a polo shirt,satin shorts and trainers.
James: rarely I refused. I didn't like the consequences. Did you refuse? Were you teased by your friends and others for just wearing shorts? Did your parents make you wear just your shorts bare chest and barefoot just at home or outside almost everywhere possible?
Daniel63: I wouldn't have objected to wearing shorts if my friends wore them,but to be seen wearing shorts and bare chested and barefoot was embarrassing to say the least.
I suppose my parents found it very gratifying to see me wearing shorts at their request.
Did you refuse to wear your shorts or just oblige your parents?
James: it was the same with my parents.
I was ok in wearing shorts. Other boys and my friends wore shorts so it wasn't a big deal.
Being told to be in just shorts, bare chested and barefoot was the difference. I suppose they thought it was healthier that way.
Daniel63: my parents decided what I should wear on a daily basis and they considered it appropriate to wear shorts and go bare-chested and barefoot if the weather were suitable. I suppose they considered it healthier to wear just shorts,but I found them to restrictive as none of my friends wore shorts at my age.
Did you feel the same way?
James: partly. It was sure my own preference when it was really hot, but parents wanted it anyway.
How about you?
Daniel 63: did you have to wear just your shorts and go bare chested at home or was it your own preference?
James: like you in shorts and bare chested. sometimes barefoot too. according to the weather.
Daniel63,If it were warm and sunny I would typically go bare chested,otherwise I would wear a polo shirt with my shorts.
How about you?
James, did you have to be bare chested at home when you were in shorts? or how were you "allowed" to wear at home?
Greg 2, thank you for your reply, I agree that' being ridiculed is never good'especially as it was my parents' decision to keep me in shorts while other boys wore long trousers. I think it was a shame that you were bullied when you were wearing your leather shorts,as I would consider that you should feel proud to wear your previous country's costume.
Unlike yourself I didn't have any jeans or long trousers to wear,so I wore my shorts on a daily basis with trepidation.
Tom B, Did the decision you made at the time make it so that you never showered with the other boys? You seem to imply that had it been a mandatory ruling to regularly shower, you might have benefitted from it in some way. Why would you think it’s, ‘an important part of growing up.’ to have to shower with all the others? Do you think it might have help build confidence, or benefitted you in some other way? As far as I’m concerned, I’m not so sure about any of that. I know we all respond differently and have different needs, but I was made to shower with others from a young age, and I really didn’t like doing it. It was forced, monitored, and I couldn’t get out of it. I did get used to it in the end, but never really felt relaxed or comfortable in there, for whatever my own reasons were. But it was clear that others did. Also, my situation that I found myself in seemed to even compounded this dread, as I had to witness it for weeks, which seemed to emphasise and prolong all my discomforts to come. I’m not sure it benefitted me at all, and I still wouldn’t be over keen to shower communally to this day. It’s just my nature, and we are who we all are in the end; there’s nothing wrong with that.
I know boarding school, or national service, forces this individualism out of people, and that some character or personality types might find that being directed into conforming, rather than feeling strongly about your own inclinations, would help them to enjoy things all the more, and that’s fine too. But, like most things in life, there always seems to be a forfeit to pay. I don’t think that being ‘conditioned’ is always necessarily the best option for all…I almost went to a boarding school, as I past a voice trial to become a cathedral chorister when I was little! I chose not to go in the end. Obviously, I’ve wondered about this over the passing years, and at one period appeared to really regret it, as it cartainly would have been a route into a better private education. But, I got over it, and respected the decision I made as a boy, and for the reasons I made them at that time. Today, I’m quite glad I didn’t do it, because I know it would have changed me from the person I became, and I’m quite contented as I am!
James, It’s a pity you still had to wear shorts, and the other boy too, when most didn’t. Being ridiculed by other kids is never good, and reminds of a time when I was on a school trip in Northumberland, though I admit I was only 10. My mother had saved some new black leather shorts for me, which I’m sure she must have brought back from Germany during one of our family visits to relatives there. I admit such shorts sound very kinky today, but back then, to us anyway, it wasn’t the case, and they were much more innocent times. I think mum had saved them especially for the holiday. Anyway, as I got on the coach when we were about to go somewhere, all the kids started laughing at me. I felt really awful and ran off the coach, leaving everyone waiting, ran back to the dormitory and changed into jeans. When I got home I refused to wear them again. Even so, I think I was thought of as one of the ‘cool’ kids at junior school, because I was often dressed in slightly differently styled German clothes; they certainly seemed more colourful compared to the others anyway…but those shorts were probably pushing things too far!
I know I was bare chested in the garden during the summer etc. I never really thought about it. I was never made to do this. Strangely, it never bothered me to just take my shirt off; probably because I had brothers. I do remember playing on a park in Berlin in just shorts when I was little, but felt positively over dressed compared to some of the other kids!! And… I know I sometimes changed into jeans when I got home because I have a memory of doing so and running round to my ‘girlfriend’s’ when I was 11 and having an embarrassing ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with the zip! I know I didn’t wear shorts quite so much after I’d left junior school.
Thank you TimH , that was lovely to watch. It’s very much like the dancing we did when I was 11. I think it’s possible we might have done that very dance, or one very much like it, as I can remember the moving in and out and skipping round in groups of fours. The music we danced to was far more old fashioned and orchestral back then, but big on the accordions! I noticed the man with the stick. I’m glad he didn’t fall over it!
Greg 2,I found that some of the boys were as bad as the girls for teasing because I had the misfortune to wear short trousers when most of the boys wore long trousers. I remember one boy of my age whose parents put him back into shorts for school during the warmer months and he tried to hide so as he couldn't be seen in his shorts. I felt quite sorry for him!
May I ask did you have to go bare chested at home and did you have to wear shorts?
Greg, earlier you mentioned that you parents wanted you to be barechested for p.e. and teachers made sure you were. maybe i didn't get it but why your parents wanted it that way? how did you feel about it?
I started out at a junior school which didn’t even have changing rooms and moved to a school with a junior and senior section where the boys were already well used to rugby training and showers that followed.
The showers were not mandatory or at least rules were not enforced in the senior school and over time fewer boys would shower regularly. It gave me the excuse not to but I regret it and was always jealous of the handful of lads who would shower and indeed walk around the changing room naked full of confidence.
James, Yes that sounds typical with the female teacher finding excuses to walk through. No one ever says anything about things like this, but females very often make sure they don’t miss opportunities to observe males of all ages, I’ve certainly had a lot of that growing up, with sometimes accidentally on purpose hands in certain places etc. Not all females obviously, but definitely some.
13 must have been a really awkward age to have bed baths, and I can imagine that being very embarrassing. I was only 11, but certainly starting to become more self-aware, but I used to get really fed up with the girl thing though, I really hated that! It wasn’t my fault I had soft features when I was growing up! I hated the attention, but somehow, eventually you just become resigned to it. The nurses gave me a few ordinary baths too when I out of traction, which I also found a bit awkward, but I think they noticed this and they left me alone to wash myself. They insisted on helping me undress and get in and out, and towel me dry then helped put my clean pyjamas on. All very helpful and routine nursing I suppose really, but to be fair, I did have to be careful and avoid weight on my right leg at that time, but I was just a bit bodily shy I think. I can’t imagine young girls of that age having to accept a situation where teenage boys helped them in that way!
No, I was pleased to get out of wearing shorts and felt quite grown up when I could wear long trousers for school. I had begun to get teased a little about the shorts I wore during my later years at junior school anyway, usually by older girls. There were always remarks, and I can remember them singing, ‘Who wears short shorts’ which I think was song from the 50s, though I’d never heard of it at the time and just thought it was the usual teasing. Anyway, this would have been the late 60s. I just tried to ignore it.
To Greg - and anyone else who might be interested:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBtTOR1oQjc - Whitby Folk Week from 9 years back - rather restrained - possibly its early in the evening - or very late.
Guy at the stat in black with red boots - he and his partner are singing friends of mine - and the lad at the end (with the crutch) is someone I've known for 'xx' years. The crutch is (was) permanent, btw - marvellous what you can do when you put your mind to it ...
Greg 2, I too went into hospital for an operation on my knee when I was thirteen and was subjected to daily bed baths by female nurses which I found excruciatingly embarrassing.
We often found that the female teacher who sometimes supervised us for games would walk through the changing room to make some excuse to discuss something with her husband.
Did you wear your short trousers when you attended your secondary school?
...TimH no, I didn’t turn out to be a dancer either! No I’ve never seen a ceilidh, but the music sounds as though it could be good! It sound great fun, especially as you say, in the late evening when suitably primed!
Tom B, Thank you. Would that be a junior school then, or maybe a middle school where you’d have to stay for another couple of years? I know it was unusual to have showers in a junior school; though I have known it. It is an interesting concept that whatever you find happening in your social circle as a child, this becomes normal to you as you have nothing to compare anything with. Children therefore, throughout history, have become conditioned to do all sorts of things; some of which wouldn’t bear thinking about.
As regards school showering, I do remember at the time that just having to wash under a shower was very strange to me, as we only had a bath at home at that time. Also, if I remember correctly, we weren’t monitored so closely during showering after the age of 13 or so, so I do recollect many boys not bothering to have one, especially as the games lesson usually took up the last periods of the time-table in the day.
TimH, We really enjoyed the Scottish dancing actually. It was a change and something new to us. It was certainly all very co-ordinated and structured, so you are correct in that we were all being taught how to become much more efficient at all of that. Our teacher would place an old wooden record player on the corner of the stage, and the stylus would be carefully placed at the beginning of a crackly record. The Scottish dancing music always seemed to start with one chord, which was when all boys were expected to bow to the girls opposite, and then we would be off! Having learnt the dance on previous days, there would be lots of skipping around while holding a girl’s hand, and often joining up others in another circle to skip around inside. Quite sweet really. I remember it being great fun and with lots of giggling!
@ Greg 2
Just a quick comment about the 'Scottish Dancing' - it does teach you 'co-ordination' and 'teamwork'.
I'm not a dancer myself but if you've ever seen a ceildh with a 'Folk-Rock' band and lots of people - I'd suggest its about the best aerobic exercise you can get (especially at mid-night after a few beers!)
Interesting post Greg2.
I joined a school aged 11 where the majority of boys had been showering together from the age of 7. This made me very self conscious about it and as regular showering wasn’t enforced I would normally shy away.
Looking back I regret this as I feel showering with the boys is an important part of growing up.