Burnley Grammar School

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Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 1,409,710
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: Tony on 16th March 2024 at 02:26

That last comment from your teacher was absolutely hilarious Iain.

Now where did I put all mine?

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Comment by: Iain Dale on 15th March 2024 at 22:17

Has anyone got any good comments about themselves from PE teachers written on their old school reports that they are willing to share with others, either funny, sarcastic, very bad or very good?

"Iain needs to exercise his tongue a little less and his legs a lot more" - sarcasm.

"Iain seems to overestimate his strengths and underestimate his weakness in PE with me" - a definite put down.

"Iain seems reluctant to get stuck into some of the more physical aspects of PE with others" - this may refer to rugby, such as scrums or something.

"Like oil and water, Iain and sweat do not appear to mix easily" - more sarcasm, said by a PE teacher who always thought he had the worlds best sense of humour. Nobody else did. You can see why.

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Comment by: Alan on 15th March 2024 at 18:16

Comment by: Terry on 15th March 2024 at 15:32

"I think Nathan has answered that question at least a couple of times hasn't he."

Well, up to a point, he says he would listen to them and try the psychological approach, to find out what bugged them, but if he got an outright refusal from a lad like Graeme, what would he do?

Comment by: Tony on 13th March 2024 at 13:31


"Interesting one this.

You don't sound shy or insecure as a child Graeme and didn't mention being so, and you did admit not disliking PE lessons.

It seems to me that what you were really concerned with was your actual privacy not being adequately looked after and that was the main issue, considering you mentioned the area seeming like a free for all with coming and goings. School changing rooms quite clearly should be and should always have been restricted areas."

I think you have it there in a nutshell, Tony - the way other staff members, who had nothing whatsoever to do with sports lessons dropping into the changing room to gossip to the PE master - you wondered why they were there, and in our case, it was noticeable, even to the more naive boys, how much our P.E. teacher seemed to spend more time watching you when you got older than they did when you started off at 11/12. Older lads should be trusted to attend to their ablutions without "supervision".

There should at the very least, be a ban on non PE staff being allowed to just drop in , and certainly women teachers (though we had none ourselves) - perhaps there is these days, but there wasn't back then.

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Comment by: Terry on 15th March 2024 at 15:32

Comment by: Alan on 15th March 2024 at 07:56
It begs the question - what would teachers do today? - they have less authority now than they did 40 years ago, and would not dare use physical force. I wonder what Nathan would do, given those circumstances?.




I think Nathan has answered that question at least a couple of times hasn't he.

It's telling just how much 'delayed annoyance' from older people over the age of forty there seems to be out there who now find themselves looking back to their school days up to more than fifty years ago and re-evaluating them all over again. For example, I am on a Facebook group dedicated to my old senior school which has attracted a huge number of comments about aspects of school life back in my day there (70s) and many of the same teachers names keep cropping up again and again, PE teachers being regularly mentioned, not always in good ways either, and showers at school is a frequent mention that comes along among such chats on my old school Facebook page set up by a former pupil where I went.

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Comment by: Alan on 15th March 2024 at 07:56

Comment by: Stephen on 14th March 2024 at 23:23


"I don't think that would have worked at my old school in 1974 Graeme. I think we'd have just been pushed in there with the PE kit or part of it still on and got wet, or quite possibly have had it forcibly taken off, not by a teacher but by other classmates first! "

I guess it depends on the sort of school you went to, Stephen. Graeme (who I very much admire) clearly went to a "good" school, since he mentions that many of his group went into the medical and legal professions. I am sure they would be aware - and their parents would be aware - of their rights. Even back in the 80s manhandling young lads would constitute a common assault in law. You might be right about what classmates might have done, but then they might have been better behaved than mine or yours. Then again, if teachers allowed other boys to do that, they would have been condoning bullying, which would not have gone down well if their parents wished to take it further. I wish I had had his guts.

It begs the question - what would teachers do today? - they have less authority now than they did 40 years ago, and would not dare use physical force. I wonder what Nathan would do, given those circumstances?.

Comment by: Craig on 14th March 2024 at 20:13



Congratulations on the success of your group, Craig - it is an achievement, especially in the open air in this country in the winter. I know how difficult it is to keep even an indoor cyber electronics group going. You should be safe pounding the streets with a policeman amongst your number - and he might even encourage a few of his colleagues to join. I don't think it would be for me though, in the dodgy area where I live.

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Comment by: Greg2 on 15th March 2024 at 00:36

I don’t remember ever having to do a shirtless gym lesson, we had a very strict dress code of all white for entering our school gym, rather like that old Grange Hill clip. Our gym teacher would not let any of us deviate from this, however insignificant any bit of colour here or there might have been. We didn’t have bare feet either, with footwear also having to be predominantly white. This was secondary school during the late 60s into the 70s, a time it seems, when shirtless gym was quite the routine in most other places.

I’ve tried to imagine whether it would have bothered me doing shirtless gym, and I’m not sure it would have really. Maybe because I grew up with brothers, both older and younger, though all of us preferred our privacy. We did share baths at the younger ages. My school gym lessons were usually all boys anyway which obviously would have helped. But I’m sure that if I’d had to share gym lessons with girls while being shirtless, as others have mentioned, and females on here have confirmed, I’m sure I’d have felt more self-conscious due to girls being far more focused and judgemental about boy classmates’ appearances, compared to how boys were. In fact I think it’s just disregarding to force boys to share lessons with girls wearing gym shorts only, and literally nothing else. I realise there’ll always be those who disagree with this: certainly those setting such rules; obviously attention seeking extrovert types; gym teachers, both male and females, though probably for different reasons; and probably most of the girls sharing the lesson.

Obviously showers were compulsory following gym. Like most I didn’t look forward to my first time, and do remember a feeling of resignation. Water was usually warm as far as I recall, and all supervised by our gym teacher. As for Kevin 1972’s recollections of almost anyone being invited into his changing room, well I remember it being quite routine for the girls’ gym teacher to waltz right through our changing room whenever she wanted, even though the girls’ door was only a few metres away. Eventually boys got fed up with this and started to make sure the outside door was locked. I can remember seeing her through the frosted door window, trying the door and then walking away.

I don’t hold any resentment for having had to shower communally all through those younger ages, and with our gym teacher ever present. Like others I’m sure, it helped me confront my self-consciousness about removing clothes amongst others. In fact I remember happily using public campsite showers with similar aged friends with no worries at all, around that same time. Recalling this though, I do remember there being a man sitting on the bench in front of the showers where you’d normally sit to undress. He’d be fully dressed and just seemed to sit there watching us. This might be thought suspicious today, but I’m sure I’m over-thinking things due to today’s social conditioning. I expect he was just waiting for us all to clear off, as I do remember we’d be playing about as much as just getting on with our showers.

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Comment by: Stephen on 14th March 2024 at 23:23

Comment by: Graeme S on 12th March 2024 at 22:18
I wrote the following short essay on another thread a couple of years ago and thought I might share it here where there seems to be some turnover of opinion on the subject;
When I was 12 years old, this was in 1983, me and four others flatly refused to use the school showers like we were told to do.



I don't think that would have worked at my old school in 1974 Graeme. I think we'd have just been pushed in there with the PE kit or part of it still on and got wet, or quite possibly have had it forcibly taken off, not by a teacher but by other classmates first! There is no way I could ever have imagined my PE teachers allowing us to disobey them and continue to do so on such a thing. All boys showered at school whether you liked it or not, it was never up for discussion and you knew not to even try.

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Comment by: Craig on 14th March 2024 at 20:13

Comment by: Neil on 10th March 2024 at 21:51
Great read on the 'bareskin' running Craig. I think I want to try this too!

Comment by: Ethan on 12th March 2024 at 00:05
Good to hear about your latest bareskin running exploits Craig.



Try it Neil, arrange one yourself, it's so easy to do.

We gained our 30th member last night and he wants to go on a late nighter tonight with me just the two of us at 10.30pm for a short couple of miles before joining a bigger group bareskin run in future.

For anyone interested, I only actually knew 8 of these men before it all started but it's been a great way to make some new contacts.

I even think someone with low self esteem who disliked bare chested PE in school such as Alan could find they benefit far more than they could ever imagine in the company of a group like ours.

Paul G - I am interested as well.

Kevin 1972 - I thought your post was quite remarkable there for your age. I concur that nobody who shouldn't be there should be allowed in any changing area, especially where showering is taking place openly.

Nathan Hind - I am looking forward to your latest news on how you've been surveying your pupils regards bareskins for PE days.

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Comment by: Paul G on 14th March 2024 at 17:13

Comment by: Hugh on 20th January 2024 at 18:22
I’ve thought it for some time that here we have more of a Carl Beech than anything else otherwise why would someone who is so perpetually obsessed with abuse not have done something rather than continue to post here to an utterly disinterested audience.




I'm interested. You don't know what you're talking about.

For a lot of people school has a dark underbelly. It should not be brushed under the carpet as inconvenient.

The comments since the weekend on the Mail story prove it.

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Comment by: Tony on 13th March 2024 at 13:31

Comment by: Graeme S on 12th March 2024 at 22:18

Interesting one this.

You don't sound shy or insecure as a child Graeme and didn't mention being so, and you did admit not disliking PE lessons.

It seems to me that what you were really concerned with was your actual privacy not being adequately looked after and that was the main issue, considering you mentioned the area seeming like a free for all with coming and goings. School changing rooms quite clearly should be and should always have been restricted areas.

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Comment by: Alan on 13th March 2024 at 10:15

Comment by: Graeme S on 12th March 2024 at 22:18


I only wish I had had your guts, Graeme, and I congratulate you. I only wish I had the courage to be that brave back then. Of course, the cane was still used in our school, but I hope, if we have young readers they read your words and act on them - these days of course, the teachers haven't got the power they had back then, so there is very little they could do now. Long live the rebels.

I don't know whether you went to an all boys school, as I did, but I felt back then - more so in adulthood - that men who want to work in a single sex school should have their motives questioned. Far too many have been caught up to no good - sadly, far too many who should have been, got away with it.

I wish you had been at my school - I would have joined your group! - as it was, we were all too scared of our teachers - they instilled fear from day one at 11.

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Comment by: Graeme S on 12th March 2024 at 22:18

I wrote the following short essay on another thread a couple of years ago and thought I might share it here where there seems to be some turnover of opinion on the subject;


When I was 12 years old, this was in 1983, me and four others flatly refused to use the school showers like we were told to do. This of course had consequences for us and we got a number of lunchtime and after school detentions for this, but it did not stop us. We simply got dressed and walked out the changing room. Our gang of five was quite militant looking back. We were all surprisingly confident for our ages and intelligent. But what could our PE teachers do about it, not a lot other than huff and puff a lot and throw a few detentions at us which didn't work. Even in 1983 there was no chance they were actually going to get hold of us and physically remove our clothes from us and we knew it.

In the end they just gave up on us on the issue and that was that. By the age of 12 there was no way I was going to let my own family, either of my parents see me taking a bath or a shower with nothing on so I was not going to let a teacher do so either and neither were our small gang of friends.

We had showered in our first few weeks at school but found it increasingly objectionable that two of the teachers seemed to pay very close attention to us as we did so and also that they let others into our changing room while we did it. It seemed like our boys changing room became a place for other members of the male staff to be allowed to come in and look at boys changing and having showers. That was just wrong.

Kids of 12 probably don't think they hold much clout against adults but they do if they commit to a course of action and hold firm. 12 year olds back then seemed far more mature than nowadays to me. I must admit to surprising myself at my militancy over the issue in school because I was not a troublemaker and neither were any of the rest of our gang, except for this one thing. None of our parents were very pleased with us and my own thought I was being over sensitive.

Isn't it a great shame that there were not far more confident senior school age youngsters who grouped together to tough it out against some of these demands they used to make of us. A couple of our little gang did actually hate PE but the others like me were far from PE phobic. You have more power than you realise even as a kid in school who feels they are just being pushed around into doing things.

Every one of our small gang at school who did this ended up doing highly professional jobs in the legal or medical professions. I remember looking through the sex offenders register at one point and being quite shocked at just how many people were on it who were marked down as former male PE teachers who took advantage of what that job allowed them to do.

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Comment by: Sean on 12th March 2024 at 21:11

When I read comments like Kevin's and then consider just how different he was with how I felt at school, completely not bothered by shirtlessness or showering, that's a vast chasm of differences that has to be contained within a one class situation. I was so carefree at school I'd have probably loved to share everything with the girls at the time, including the changing room! I think most boys sat somewhere between my at times enthusiastic over confidence and people like Kevin's lack of it or anxious state of mind. I think it's genetic in part, not just environment. You are what you are.

Malcolm, I really hate to hear the gay jibe you mentioned there just because some boys actually choose to shower at school while others don't. It's so pathetic. I'm completely heterosexual with a family but I'd have jumped in and taken a shower even if I didn't have to do so too. I thought those kind of lazy insults were a thing of the dim and distant past, a shame to hear you say that about something quite recent. I applaud the confidence of those boys in doing so and your own grandson being one of them.

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Comment by: Bev on 12th March 2024 at 16:54

Comment by: Dave on 10th March 2024 at 15:53
Richard:
What was the reaction of your classmates and of you having to be shirtless for PE back then? Was it ever a topic of conversation among you? How did you play team sports being shirtless all the time? Did you have any mixed PE lessons with girls present?


I have seen you ask this question a few times to people about PE with girls present. Is there any reason you yourself ask it particularly? I shared PE with boys wearing no nothing on their bodies and never saw any reason for them to be bashful about it.

Kevin 1972, I was actually at school in the year of your name here, sometimes sharing the kinds of mixed classes alongside early teenage boys told to go bare chested myself and I'm sorry to read about your own insecurities there. If it's any consolation I always used to look upon the boys I shared with in PE quite favourably and thought they looked good doing PE like that actually.

If you were at a mixed school, like me, should there have been complete segregation do some here advocate? I think that would have been a great pity, it was nice to do at least some PE in mixed company in the school gym at times rather than being among just the girls. I have some nice memories of doing this.

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Comment by: Malcolm on 12th March 2024 at 13:44

I often took turns to drive my grandson into school some days when the weather was not so great outside eight to ten years ago and we'd have a little chat about what he would get up to that day as we went along. We'd talk about all subjects, teachers, people, you name it. One day I noticed as he was going through his school bag next to me that he had a small hand towel wrapped around his trainers in the bag and I asked what it was for and he told me he always brings it on PE days. I had no idea he took a shower at school after PE, however it wasn't the old fashioned compulsory arrangement that many older men will remember, myself included, but a purely voluntary one. He told me that after PE it was always the same six or seven boys in his class that used the shower, about a quarter to a third of his class size but that these boys had at one time received some hurtful 'gay' comments from other ignorant boys just because they were keen to, chose to and were comfortable having a shower after a PE lesson. Boys and men can be at ease with each other in such situations without these type of comments being true of course and always have.

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Comment by: Alan on 12th March 2024 at 05:15

Comment by: Kevin 1972 on 11th March 2024 at 23:19


"I was a really over anxious child and teenager from about the age of 9 until 17. It was only when I left school and started a nice regular job that I enjoyed that I started losing that trait."


I can go along with that, too, Kevin. When I started work, I was genuinely amazed to find that your employer and other people you worked with were friendly, polite, helpful and even knew your first name. I worked for small and medium sized companies, always steering clear of large companies, which, I worried would be as bad as school, with their "us and them" mentality.


I always find it incredible schools claim that they are "preparing us for the world of work" - perhaps that might be so if we were all going to join the army, but their regimented command-based nonsense is NOTHING like the world of work - some of the teachers gave themselves ridiculous airs. I remember that at one point the teaching unions, having had their noses put out of joint, by Mrs Thatcher trying to bring them to heel, would mount strikes and walk-outs. and every time they did so, an especially prolix union leader would be on the radio mumbling one phrase which angered me then, and still does - "at the chalk face" - an oblique reference to the miners "at the coal face". and it really angered me that these weak, flabby old men would dare to compare themselves with the brave men who, at great personal danger and filthy conditions, worked hard long shifts down the mines.

Don't feel bad about your feelings at school, Kevin. Even as a kid I always believed that if schooldays really WERE "the happiest days of your life", then we might as well have topped ourselves then and there. Things do get better once those days are over, for most of us.

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Comment by: Stephen on 12th March 2024 at 03:00

Hello TimH, could you explain this comment underneath for the benefit of those of us who think we know what you mean but would like to be sure. Your reference to the two ladies here added to my own confusion a bit and made me less sure I'd understood what you were meaning.

Tim H - 'Thanks to Val & Linda for their recent comments.'

'I'm away for a few days and its possible I may not return to this 'board' - like others who have left in recent months I don't like the tone of some postings, which I find OTT.'

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Comment by: Toby on 12th March 2024 at 01:45

Kevin

As I said on this site sone time ago, I put a lot of my anxiety down to having an outie tummy button.

Though I've never considered whether I'd have been fine if it looked like others'. I think so.

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Comment by: Ethan on 12th March 2024 at 00:05

Good to hear about your latest bareskin running exploits Craig.

I get quite a few late night joggers around my road going past. I did see one in daytime a few months ago run by without a shirt on all by himself but he was quite young and it was a hot day, so doesn't really count like what you do I suppose.

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Comment by: Kevin 1972 on 11th March 2024 at 23:19

I was a really over anxious child and teenager from about the age of 9 until 17. It was only when I left school and started a nice regular job that I enjoyed that I started losing that trait.

I can remember even very young being over anxious about things in my primary school, and this is where my PE anxiety about my body started. At primary school the ladies that took the class for PE always made the boys remove everything on top and do the PE lesson in the school hall in our bare chest and feet, alongside the girls. This was also done with music and movement and also sometimes with country dancing too. I really disliked it and I never liked the ladies that took us for PE at primary school either, they never took part properly in the lesson and just gave orders from up front at us. After the May Day bank holiday until we broke up for summer in late July the boys at primary would be expected to go outside for PE in our bare chest just like we did for PE in the school hall and when the sports day came around in mid June each year our families were invited along and we had to hang out in a bare chest at that too which made me feel incredibly self conscious by the time I was ten or eleven. When I did it at the age of eight I didn't feel anything like as anxious.

When I went up to secondary school things got even tougher. It was much the same in that school sports hall as it had been at my primary school, nearly all the time boys PE was conducted in a compulsory bare chest, the only difference being we no longer shared with girls. Then came the compulsory having to go in the showers when I by twelve and I did make something of an issue about doing so on numerous occasions and tried to wriggle out of doing so and getting into trouble over it, but I wasn't the only one that got up to that. I remember the constant need to compare what I looked like with others and it making me hate my own body for some reason, always thinking everyone else looked better than me, even though they didn't really. I absolutely hated being forced to shower with nothing on.

Don't get me wrong, I was never bullied by anyone, teachers or others in class but I was always at war with my own over anxious state which PE lessons brought to the fore in a big way. But boys are not really allowed to say they feel afraid or seriously shy and self conscious of being naked among other boys and they most certainly are not allowed to openly admit they feel uncomfortable being bare chested openly among others in a class situation in school. But I was. I remember sometimes, especially when I was first doing these things that my stomach used to churn almost to the point of feeling sick sometimes. Even after quite some time I always used to feel a little stomach churn as another bare chest PE lesson came along, much more so at secondary school actually.

My confidence about myself only started to grown after leaving school and throughout my twenties I suppose. When I look back at how anxious I was in my schooldays at PE and what it meant doing I feel a real sense of disappointment in myself that I lacked so much confidence at the time and wish it hadn't been that way.

From being that unconfident child, worried sick to take his shirt off for PE or be naked for the showers, I've gone the other way and actually have full confidence in my body now at the age of 51 and haven't felt bothered by being bare chested in years. I wonder if anyone else can relate to this in any way, such a difference between their young self and adult self in terms of esteem about how they look and what they show of themselves in front of others.

If I could give advice to my younger self it would be simple - don't worry, it doesn't matter, you look fine.

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Comment by: TimH on 11th March 2024 at 12:05

Replying to Richard's post of 20.51 on 7th March.

You say: Picking up a point on commercial gyms desiring coverage and not showing actual bodies while on their premises, can this really be the case? I saw a really peculiar video which made the news from the USA about a year ago in one gym over there where someone minding their own business working out shirtless in a quiet gym was approached by a very creepy man asking about his shirtless working out. The whole incident was filmed and was very strange indeed. Maybe someone else can find it online and post it, or knows about it.

I think the answer to the first part of your query is; If you look at the big 'chain' gyms they'll say 'appropriate attire' (or similar) is required. This allows a pretty wide range of clothing but I think its pretty implicit that tops should be worn. Whether or not there are any 'independant' gyms out there which allow topless, I don't know and I'm not going to waste time trying to prove the point. As I think I commented, the only problem at my gym was when a couple of guys used the pool, etc., in their underpants - this was reported and action taken.

Regarding the filming - I suspect most, if not all, gyms ban filming on its entirety, in both pools & gyms & also changing rooms.

Regarding dark glazed windows - my gym was refurbished a year ago and looking in from street level, the windows are darkened preventing people seeing in. I suspect a lot of gyms follow this practice. If you walk down the street I think you'll see a good number of shops have all or part of their windows obscured. I believe its known as 'privacy'.

Thanks to Val & Linda for their recent comments.

I'm away for a few days and its possible I may not return to this 'board' - like others who have left in recent months I don't like the tone of some postings, which I find OTT.

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Comment by: Alan on 11th March 2024 at 04:16

Comment by: Russ on 10th March 2024 at 19:48
(and Neil)





"....The trouble is the kind of parents who pay and send off to these places have quite remote relationships with their own children in so many cases.

I've also noticed a pattern with some of these stories at times, there is the forced naked swimming and here it is again written down, not the PE teacher doing it but the Latin teacher for God's sake....."


Russ, I want to thank you for your understanding - it does mean a lot. In regards to the first part of the quote - let's just say it is not only parents who send their children away to school that have a lack of interest.

I remember clearly after Burke's rubber hit me instead of Tony that there was a lot of laughter - probably from my reaction as the first thing I did was to feel my teeth, to make sure there was no broken tooth (of course the other kids didn't know that dental damage is fatal for anyone who plays a brass instrument, as the configuration of teeth and gums is individual and any alteration can ruin your embouchure) At the time it was the knowledge that there was no harm done, and the relief, that got me more than the anger and sense of injustice. It was painful for a few days, especially during my 2 hour practice session each evening, but that is nothing to what the Earl went through.

I can understand why it took him (and many others) years before they could talk about it, Neil. It is not something you want to admit to, for fear of either not being believed or thinking that others might think you have encouraged it. It makes you look a bit weak. You think - wrongly - if you bury it, it will never reappear.

This naked swimming, Russ you speak of - that was a feature in the scandalous Royal Liberty case which I have mentioned, which is far more recent. There the main protagonist used to lock the doors of the school's pool, before making the boys swim naked. I know in the past naked swimming has been discussed on this site, and in my view, whether it happened in the 1950s or any decade thereafter, that should be a red flag for any parent. Once that kind of line is crossed, it is giving almost carte blanche for any indignity to be inflicted on boys. I can say that could not have happened at our school, because they had only the use of the local public swimming pool. East Ham Baths, who would never have tolerated that kind of indecency.

I always consider myself lucky that I had an outside interest to which I could escape, where I mixed with very different people to the old relics who taught me, but some lads didn't, and I am sorry to say some turned to crime.

It doesn't matter what strata of society you belonged to - I feel as sorry for Earl Spenser and the other lads who went through what they did, just as much as the working class lads who went through any form of abuse or coercion from teachers. It does leave a legacy - in the Earl's case it has clearly left him with scars, in my case, a cynical mistrust of anybody in "authority" especially teachers.

I do wish, though, that parents DID take more interest. I have mentioned before how I live very close to a bus stop which takes the kids each day to one of the three schools the route serves. Most look quite happy and they laugh and play about, but you often see one or two alone and looking far from happy, and you often wonder why. I would like to think that their parents asked themselves the same question, and tried to get to the root of whatever the problem is. I guess it is usually bullying - either by other pupils, but, who knows, perhaps a teacher.

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Comment by: Michael F on 11th March 2024 at 03:04

Real men do P.E showing a bare chest. Just look how confident the guys here are doing at a school my late grandad attended, he was there from 1932 to 1936.

Men Of Tomorrow (1938) from British Pathe.

'Look at the splendid physique as they get into line' says the wonderfully British commentary. Absolutely, actually they already looked like men to me but are aged 13 to 17, some do look older. My grandfather once went to this school, Berkhamsted School and did this there.

https://youtu.be/65rww9nZtEA?feature=shared

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Comment by: Linda on 10th March 2024 at 22:58

When am I going to start seeing some of these increasing number of barechest runners coming past my front door!

I've got my camera phone at the ready lads - should I admit that, oops. I bet you looked fabulous going along.

Concur with the comments about the press article on Diana's brother's school. Utterly disgusting.

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Comment by: Mel on 10th March 2024 at 22:17

Comment by: Richard on 9th March 2024 at 21:12
My answer to you Mel as a child who spent many a time in a school PE lesson in just my shorts is don't worry about it at all. With any group of people you are going to get a few who are not so confident or shy about things, and school is no different. It's normal.
I myself NEVER wore a top in the school gym for PE in the mid to late 70s from the day I arrived until fifth form broke up for exams, and whoever took us it was the same, and I must have had about 6 to 8 different male PE teachers during my time at Filton High in Gloucestershire that I was at.




Thankyou for this Richard. I have seen your Flickr photo's and your gym looked very nice.

I was also appalled to read the Mail today. Now that really is something to think about and puts worrying a little about the PE kit into perspective somewhat.

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Comment by: Neil on 10th March 2024 at 21:51

It's hard to disagree with you both Russ and Terry and the nature of that article. It was grim reading indeed. I think boys getting sent away to boarding schools have always faced a certain vulnerability for the obvious reasons. Very few people that come to this thread seem to have been boarders, just regular day pupils and not even Alan is claiming anything on the level of that Sunday Mail article.

I do have trouble understanding such a long period of silence on the matter though. I would have been screaming from the rooftops if anyone had done any of those things to me. I saw what you wrote about your mum's reaction to coming home with a face mark having been clobbered by mistake from a teacher with the blackboard wiper. In my home Alan, I'd have told mum and she would have then told dad who would have then taken charge and been up the school pronto! Why was your mum so soft?

Great read on the 'bareskin' running Craig. I think I want to try this too!

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Comment by: Stuart B on 10th March 2024 at 21:32

That was a good update Craig, thanks.

So you've got a PC on board for that. I can't resist saying this but it seems the only way to get a bobby on the beat pounding the actual streets now is to get them shirtless then!

Good luck getting your member number 30, solicitors and police, certainly attracting the professional class isn't it.

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Comment by: Russ on 10th March 2024 at 19:48

Responding to what Terry wrote, I agree.

Earl Spencer said something in that article that also made me think of how you write on here at times Alan with your own angst.

"'I've frequently witnessed deep pain, still flickering in the eyes of my Maidwell contemporaries,' he writes. 'Many of us left Maidwell with demons sewn into the seams of our souls.'"


That is a very powerful last sentence I think.

A very deeply shocking story, with a school from the headmaster down, the latin teacher and the matron who was barely a teenager herself, to name just three there, all abusing their positions and the parents paying a small fortune for it all. The trouble is the kind of parents who pay and send off to these places have quite remote relationships with their own children in so many cases.

I've also noticed a pattern with some of these stories at times, there is the forced naked swimming and here it is again written down, not the PE teacher doing it but the Latin teacher for God's sake.

"The school's violent Latin master, Henry Maude, beat him with the spikes of a cricket boot and knocked another boy unconscious.

Maude selected boys for naked swimming sessions, during which the teacher would be visibly sexually aroused.

Earl Spencer was gripped by such 'despair' when returning to Maidwell after holidays that he regularly considered shooting himself in the foot with one of his father's shotguns.

Reliving Maidwell's regime of 'casual cruelty' and 'sexual assault' has been an 'absolutely hellish experience'"


I thought it was quite revealing that Earl Spencer said it only began to hit home what had happened by the time he reached his 40s while in therapy. I think something similar might have happened on here with some posters who offload long unsaid thoughts about their schooldays, of which you are the most obvious example Alan.

I hope that anybody who comes on this thread with any abuse or dismissing of you in the future will no longer be tolerated. Reading over recent weeks since the new year does seem like a more reasonable discussion even when there is disagreement.

I always had one teacher at school, in PE, who I wanted to avoid at all costs if possible but compared to what I read in the Mail article he was a pussycat. I would be totally devastated tonight if I had a son Earl Spencer's age who had gone to that school.

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Comment by: Craig on 10th March 2024 at 17:26

Interesting to read what you say there Stuart B. I presume you really wanted to know why they were running shirtless, not what they were running for, and they misunderstood or something along those lines.

Now we are getting into spring soon our group has grown on some of the more recent runs we do. Yesterday we had one of our biggest ever bareskin runs together when 14 of us managed it, doing nearly 10 miles during Saturday afternoon around a local beauty spot not far from most of our homes. Our group now has 29 members and I'm sure we are going to gain our 30th any day now.

It's a complete fallacy to think that only supremely confident men take to doing bareskin running with bare chests outdoors. I'm sure that there are plenty of men on here who have spoken about how happy they were at school doing shirtless PE within the gym who would not as adults be at all willing to do what I do for example, even if they have kept themselves in reasonable shape into middle age or older.

It didn't surprise me when you said you had seen a 60 year old doing this Stuart, our group had a 66 year old running with us yesterday and he's in better shape than many half his age I should add. But the point of running like this isn't about showing off ourselves or keeping it exclusive to people in good trim fit shape, we would equally welcome someone who was overweight (or underweight) and wanted to use it to better themselves as well. We make absolutely no judgement at all about how anyone looks and anyone is welcome to join us if they are genuine about it, or just want to try as a one off to see if it's for them.

A couple of weekends ago on a quite chilly night I did a late evening 10pm bareskin run with three other men on a short half hour sprint and we came upon a community PCSO who saw us and gestured for us to stop, which was fine but this very young woman actually asked us what we were doing, and we said running and wanted to know why we were doing it bare chested, bless her, she thought we must be frozen, we weren't, fresh yes. One of the gentleman with me, a 45 year old solicitor asked her if she had stopped us out of personal curiosity or if she thought we were committing an offence of some kind. It was curiosity, obviously no offence, and I asked if she had any male colleagues who would like to join us anytime, and handed over my whatsapp bareskins running group number. We ran off leaving her beaming and I'm sure she recounted the story back at work. Three days later an actual 29 year old police constable contacted me on whatsapp and asked for details and has now joined too and he joined us for the first time yesterday.

I'd just like to know if anyone else has been given the urge to do this and set up something similar since I wrote about doing this or would consider it in the future?

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Comment by: Dave on 10th March 2024 at 15:53

Richard:

What was the reaction of your classmates and of you having to be shirtless for PE back then? Was it ever a topic of conversation among you? How did you play team sports being shirtless all the time? Did you have any mixed PE lessons with girls present?

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