Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

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Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Year: 1935
Views: 218,940
Item #: 1741
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

Comment by: Andrea on 20th March 2020 at 22:29

When you say that both girls and boys wore shorts and vests for PE, do you mean your normal underwear vests or ones specifically for PE.

Although most of my classmates only started to wear bras when they were at secondary school, a few wore them during our final year at primary. Was this the case at your school too?

Comment by: Danny on 20th March 2020 at 00:10

Rachael, you are right, most boys and also girls wore vests under their school shirts when I was at school in the 60s.and it remained so till at least the 70s and 80s from what I remember.
The girls only started wearing the more loose t-shirts in secondary school when they started to wear bras.
So the other posters must be talking about today or more recent times. In which case I want to ask them what the kids wear today under their shirts.

I also wanted to ask you if you had mixed PE classes at school since you say that you girls preferred to see the boys doing PE bare chested and whether this was in primary or secondary school.

Comment by: Rachael on 19th March 2020 at 23:36

Back in the mid 80s a lot of boys wore vests under their school shirts. I remember at one secondary school I was at, boys were split into teams of vests vs skins, quite often the teacher had the whole class stripped to the waist for PE. I preferred to see all the boys be made to strip down, I imagine they'd prefer it too.

Comment by: Bernard on 17th March 2020 at 21:17

Sarah - Yes, I'm sure many kids would have stopped wearing vests before they start school but I wouldn't have thought it need be a problem for either boys or girls to do p.e. in just pants at that age.

Comment by: Sarah on 17th March 2020 at 00:25

The only downside of infants doing PE in vest and pants is that many kids have stopped wearing vests long before they start school.

Comment by: Jim on 16th March 2020 at 14:40

"INDOOR - Infants
The children change down to vest, pants and bare feet for indoor P.E."

Mr.Dando, what is so outrageous in infant kids doing PE in vest and pants?
Little kids that age don't care what they are wearing and feel more comfortable doing indoor PE that way, which is also probably safer and healthier.
In primary school we did PE in just underpants till age 8 or 9. After that age in the last years of Primary we wore white shorts and vest, both boys and girls.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 14th February 2020 at 20:28

I remember back in the 1980's if a boy did not have his kit some were forced to do PE in just vest and knickers or they had to get something filthy and mouldy from the "lost property" box.

It is unbelievable that there are still some schools that degrade children by forcing them to do gym in just their underwear. Here is one such institution:


INDOOR - Infants
The children change down to vest, pants and bare feet for indoor P.E.

This is cruel to force kids to PE in such a manner and bare feet where they can get verruca and other foot diseases. Lets us stop this outrage!

Comment by: Andrea on 12th February 2020 at 23:48

Did your PE teachers give any reasons as to why they didn't allow girls to wear any tops for PE?
Also, did any parents object?

With regard to vests, mum usually insisted I wore one, except in warm weather. The styles didn't change much from when I started school (just before I was 5) until I started to wear a bra (at the start of my second year at secondary school).
Teen bras then were just scaled down versions of what our mums wore, so going from a vest to a bra seemed like a big step.

As I mentioned, by niece didn't want to wear a 'childish' vest by the time she was about 8, possibly influence by some of her friends, whose mums had bought them the half-vest styles. The first ones Sis bought for her looked just like half a vest, with elastic round the bottom, but subsequent ones became shorter, with thinner, adjustable straps, but still a pull-on style.

Comment by: Anna on 12th February 2020 at 14:06

I remember a little teasing, but as everyone was in the same boat it was minimal. Yes, it probably was a little easier for the boys to be in their pants than it was for us, given that we didn't wear tops.

At middle school I think we all wore vests, bras or nothing under our uniforms. I don't recall seeing anyone in a "half bra", though wearing one wouldn't have made any difference to our PE teachers.

Comment by: Mike on 10th February 2020 at 20:56


We all got changed together in the classroom for PE.

As far as I remember most of the girls did wear vests, though might've been more like half vests as you mentioned. My memory's gone a bit fuzzy on that part.

Swimming lessons were at a local public pool so obviously we got changed separately for them.

Comment by: Andrea on 9th February 2020 at 23:10

Did boys and girls get changed for PE together when you were at primary school and if so did most of the girls wear vests?

When I was at primary in the 1960s, we did change together and I did wear a vest.
By contrast, when my son was at primary, boys and girls started to change in separate areas from the age of about 9 and he rarely wore a vest.

When my niece was about 7 or 8, her mum (my sister), bought her some half vests as she didn't want to wear a vest (which she regarded as childish).

Comment by: Danny on 9th February 2020 at 15:32

I am also surprised that there were schools like Anna mentions where they made boys and girls do mixed PE at age 12 and 13 in just pants, which I assume to mean just normal underpants,
Even as a boy I would have felt embarrassed at that age wearing just underpants for mixed PE class, which were normally cotton or nylon briefs in those days and I was in secondary school at that age. We just wore the normal white vests and shorts for PE.

Anna, was there any teasing between the boys and girls about doing PE in just pants?
I assume it was more embarrassing for the girls being seen by the boys in just underpants at that age, though not much less so by the boys.

Comment by: Andrea on 7th February 2020 at 22:44

Hi Anna,
I remember our teacher telling a few of my classmates that they should start to wear bras for PE, so it seems ironic that yours made girls remove theirs!

Comment by: Mike on 7th February 2020 at 20:28


I'm surprised they made girls take bras/vests off in mixed classes. Can't imagine how embarrassing that would've been.

You also mention your mum insisted on you wearing a vest. Mine did as well (I was at primary school early to mid 1990s). Brings back memories of how embarrassing it was getting changed and often finding myself the only boy wearing one. Haven't worn them since.

Comment by: Anna on 7th February 2020 at 11:41

Hi Mike and Andrea

I don't know what my old school does these days but I'd e shcoked if they still make the pupils do PE in just their pants! Like you say, I don't think even many infant schools do it now. I left middle school in 1995.

Yes, when I say "just in pants" that's literally what I mean - we weren't allowed vests even if we wore them (I did, my mum insisted!), an even the girls who had started wearing a bra had to take them off and do the lessons in JUST their pants! I didn't wear a bra at middle school, I didn't habve anything to put in one! But quite a few of the girls in my year, especially in our last year, did, and I guess for them it was uncomfortable as well as embarrassing as it was for us all. Even though I didn't need a bra, I had started to develop a bit and I was always really aware of my nipples standing out as I ran around the gym topless!

Comment by: Andrea on 6th February 2020 at 22:20

Like Mike I would be surprised if any schools made pupils do PE in just their pants nowadays. The only exception may be children in reception class, but even this must be rare.

When were you at middle school?
I'm assuming that when you say "just in pants", you weren't allowed to wear a vest or similar? That must have been both embarrassing and becoming uncomfortable by he time you left Middle School at 13?
Although I was still flat-chested when I left Primary School at 11, I was wearing a bra when I started my second year at Secondary (which would be the same as your last year at Middle School.

Comment by: Mike on 6th February 2020 at 18:59

Wouldn't have thought any schools would dare make kids do PE in just their pants these days

Comment by: Anna on 5th February 2020 at 17:04

I don’t know if many schools now make boys and girls do PE together in just their pants, but as your say or used to be quite common. I went to infants school then onto middle school until age 13.

At middle school we were basically treated in PE as though we were still at infants. Although we had bigger and more impressive apparatus, were still did lessons in mixed classes and we still had to do them in just our pants! The rule applied to all our indoor lessons so it included gymnastics, dance, circuits and even occasionally things like volleyball.

Comment by: Mr.Curious on 17th January 2020 at 00:48

I agree that it is no big deal for boys to be topless for PE, especially if it is just a boys class.
They usually showered naked all together after PE class anyway.
But do you think that it is OK to make boys and girls in primary school do PE in just underpants, which was very common in many schools?
I wonder if this is still allowed today.

I also agree that a school is a safe place if they have the proper supervision at all times.

Comment by: Emma A on 15th January 2020 at 19:35

John, You are absolutely right. Schools are the safest places to give the boys experiences they may not otherwise get. The boys are in a protective environment in the gym so exercising topless shouldn't cause any issues, anxiety or fear. It's not unjust, sexy or anything like it, going topless is simply the most effective way for boys to exercise in the gym throughout school.

Comment by: John on 4th January 2020 at 00:16

Mr Dando,

Schools have a duty to educate children and teaching the importance of good personal hygiene is essential for a child’s wellbeing. After doing gym or playing sports children will have become hot and sweaty and will require a shower in order to maintain their personal hygiene.

Your suggestion that children should be able to opt out of taking a shower after sports is a bad one. You will create a division between those children who are perfectly happy to have a shower after sports and those who choose to opt out. That situation could provide an environment for bullying to take place, bullies have a tendency to pick on children that they consider to be vulnerable and those who do not conform.

Parents are not forced to send their child to a school with rules that they disagree with. Headteachers and School Governors should be able to formulate policies and rules which they consider to be in the best interests of their children. there is no need for every school in the country to be exactly the same.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 3rd January 2020 at 21:10

John it is time to end Mandatory ablutions in our dismal educational institutions. Hygiene is a poor excuse for compulsory nudity in schools!

The time has come to name and shame these schools until they promise voluntarism and privacy as part of their new year resolution!

PE Kit
Compulsory Sportswear:
Boys/Option 1:
White shirt with gold band
White shorts
Pale blue socks
Football/rugby boots
Swimming trunks or shorts (not Bermuda Shorts)
Shower towel
Girls/Option 2:
Blue polo shirt with school logo
Pale blue socks
Navy blue shorts
Hockey/football boots
One piece swimsuit
Shower towel
Optional Extras:
Athletics vest, white with yellow bands and school logo, dark blue sweatshirt with school logo, cotton training top and dark blue tracksuit bottoms.

Each individual item must be clearly marked with the student’s name.

Cross Embroidery
Units 5 & 6 Lower Cherwell Street
Oxfordshire OX16 5AY
United Kingdom
Tel: 01295 270555


It is time to learn from past sins and abolish the school shower forever as part of our 2020 vision for effective child protection.

Comment by: John on 27th December 2019 at 22:01

Mr Dando,
What on earth is wrong with having a shower after getting hot and sweaty playing sports?. Surely it is unhygienic to return to the classroom without having had a shower?

Comment by: Mr Dando on 26th December 2019 at 20:13

The next school term is fast approaching and there are still some pupils who will have to return to the dreaded shower in January.


Physical Education takes place both on and off site. The PE kit consists of a white tee shirt, white shorts, white socks and trainers. Students should have additional games equipment including footwear and should not wear any part of their school uniform during PE. In winter a track suit of any colour is advisable. All students are encouraged to take part in PE and showers may be required at certain times.

The school has representative teams in a number of sports – the school has some special kit for these or parents/carers will be advised accordingly.

Let it be our New Year resolution for 2020 to ban mandatory school showers.

It is time to get modesty done in all UK institutions!

Comment by: Andrea on 23rd December 2019 at 13:29

Hi Claire,
How annoying! At least my dad never commented on my bra (if he noticed it).

I don't have any brothers and was at an all girls school by the time I started wearing a bra, so I guess I got off lightly compared to some. I recall the boys at Primary school taking an interest when a few girls started to 'develop' during our final year there.

Comment by: George Spelvin on 22nd December 2019 at 15:51

Michael, where is your school located?

Comment by: Mr Dando on 21st December 2019 at 20:34

Doctor J Wallace we must act to end forced nude showers in all educational institutions. I had to undergo this state sponsored humiliation between September 1985 to April 1987 for football, rugby and cross country.

Some UK state schools still carry out this barbaric practice. Please see below:


Physical Education Clothing

Physical Education is an integral part of the curriculum and it is essential that students change for the lessons. The clothing listed below is required by all students taking part in PE/Games: Please ensure that all items of uniform and PE kit are clearly marked with your child’s name.

PE Kit for all Years 7—11 students — boys and girls (which can only be purchased from Barnums)

Black tracksuit trousers with School logo
Black rain jacket with School logo
Black Mid-layer with School logo
Red polo shirt with School logo
Black shorts with School logo
Black socks with red top
Girls can also wear a Black Skort which is embroidered with the School logo
All students should have a pair of clean indoor trainers to use in the indoor facilities (gymnasium, sports hall, climbing wall, fitness suite). Plimsolls or similar flimsy cloth or canvas shoes are not suitable for PE lessons as they offer no foot support. Students must have appropriate trainers or running shoes.

A pair of outdoor trainers and/or football boots are required for outdoor lessons.
Shin pads are advisable for football and hockey.
A gumshield is advisable for hockey and rugby.
Showers: A towel will be required when a shower is necessary.

Swimming: A costume will be required for students involved in swimming during PE lessons.

It is essential that students bring their PE kit to change into even if they are not taking part in PE lessons

Comment by: Claire on 19th December 2019 at 18:08

Oh Andrea don't! I had 2 older brothers who could be real nightmares and for a laugh would move my bra right to the front of the clothes line so as many people as possible could see it! When I protested to my mum she simply told me to get on with it. Looking back she was right.

Comment by: Doctor J Wallace on 15th December 2019 at 14:49

I got to Teagle Hall (Cornell), where the pool was. They said “strip, shower, and go to the pool to take the swimming test.” And they handed me this piece of paper. So me and this other guy were wandering around naked, trying to find the pool without our glasses, and hoping that we wouldn’t accidentally find the women’s gymnastic team or something.

Eventually we found the pool. People swimming. An official-looking guy sitting at the table. We said “well, obviously, we’re not going to swim while carrying this paperwork, we’re clearly supposed to hand it to him for safekeeping while we do the test.”

So I handed it to him, he stamped “swim test passed” on it, and handed it back to me.

So that was it. Never went in the pool.

I now teach at North Eastern University Massachusetts and students are still required to strip nude before using the pool.


Pool Rules

Use of the pool during open swim hours is permitted only in the presence of a University employed lifeguard.
All pool users must take a nude shower before entering the pool. (this is mandated by the State of Massachusetts)
All hairclips, pins, and jewelry must be removed before entering the pool.
All male pool users must wear a conventional one piece swimming suit. All female pool users must wear a conventional one piece swimming suit or a moderate to conservative cut, 2 piece suit. (Cut-offs, running shorts, gym shorts,running tights, or any other clothing, are prohibited).
Safe lap swim will be in effect: Lane 1 & 2 slow; Lanes 3 & 4 Fast; Lanes 5 & 6 Medium.
When more than 3 swimmers are in each lane, please swim in circles. Remember, be courteous with your fellow swimmers.
Swimming under the bulkhead will not be permitted at any time.
Use of the starting blocks will not be permitted at any time.
No diving into the shallow end of the pool.
Use of diving boards will not be permitted at any time.
Only flip flops or bare feet are permitted on the pool deck.
Face masks and snorkels will not be permitted at any time. Only short training flippers will be permitted.
Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited anywhere in the building.
Glass containers should not be brought into the pool ares, bleachers or locker rooms.
No horseplay or running on the deck will be permitted at any time.
Only lifeguards and Northeastern University swimming and diving coaches are allowed on the bulkhead.
Lifeguards reserve the right to administer a swim test to any individual, any time they think it necessary. They may remove any individual from the pool from the pool at any time.
Leave all personal belongings locked in a locker. The pool deck must be kept clear at all times.
Lifeguards may prohibit any activity they deem hazardous. They may remove any individual from the pool at any time.

Comment by: Andrea on 6th December 2019 at 15:50

Talking about being embarrassed about being seen in your bra, I felt the same the first time my mum hung one of mine on the washing line when my dad was at home!