Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

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Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Year: 1935
Views: 218,944
Item #: 1741
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

Comment by: Claire on 30th November 2019 at 22:38

Hi Andrea, I forgot to add I was 15 and 16 when this happened. But being the same for everyone was a big leveller

Comment by: Claire on 30th November 2019 at 14:17

Hi Andrea, I didn't mind going to my bra. I'd have likely died if there had been boys around. I'm with you, I certainly would not have gone braless, though there wasn't much to show anyway. Most of us got caught out at some point and rules were rules. I would have enjoyed seeing boys go topless to exercise though, it would've been something different!

Comment by: Andy on 29th November 2019 at 19:10

The comments about the girls being amused reminds me of a similar experience at junior school. In the last year of junior school I had some shorts that where a little transparent and the girls used to comment that they could see the colour of underpants I was wearing. A few months later at senior school we had a fire drill during PE, outside standing around the same girls where commenting they couldn't tell what colour underpants I had on - I answered we weren't allowed to wear any and from then on the comments where always I can see you've got no underpants on..

Comment by: M Tyce on 28th November 2019 at 21:28

I started school in the mid 1960's, we were lucky in that my Infant and Primary school had a proper gym, changing rooms and showers, rather unusual at Primary schools in those days! Right through Infants (age 5 to 8) and Primary (age 8 to 11) Lessons were always 'mixed' and we all had to wear the same for PE. There was a 'single layer rule' for PE, none of us (boys or girls) were allowed to wear any underwear, and we didn't wear socks or shoes.

Boys wore very thin white nylon shorts which, (to the amusement of the girls) were almost completely transparent! Also we weren't allowed to wear any 'tops' in the gym. When we had outdoor PE we wore socks and shoes and in cool weather we were allowed to wear t-shirts or vests (but we were still not allowed to wear anything under our shorts!)

The girls wore black 'PE knickers' and white tops for PE and like us they had to go barefoot in the gym but wore socks and shoes outside.

After the lesson we all had to take our PE kit off and go in the showers together naked, in Infants the classes were smaller and the boys and girls shared one changing room and shower, but once we reached 8 and were in the Primary school the boys and girls had separate changing rooms and showers, however even the boys were supervised in the changing rooms by female teachers who made sure we all took our shorts off and went in the showers naked, even when we were 11 years old!

I confess that I hated PE, but loved going in the shower with the other boys, we didn't have a shower at home (they were quite unusual in those days) and it was a real treat to use the one at school!

Comment by: Andrea on 25th November 2019 at 15:18

Hi Claire,

Like you I went to an all girls school, but was used to seeing boys without their shirts on during hot weather in the summer holidays and they didn't seem to mind!

Although I never had to do it, I suppose doing indoor PE in bra and knickers wouldn't have been too bad, especially with no boys around. On the other hand, I would have thought that having to do it topless, as described by Laura, would have been both embarrassing and uncomfortable, especially in year 9! By then we were all wearing bras, and some of my classmates were quite well endowed!

Wat year were you in when you did PE in bra and knickers?

Comment by: Claire on 24th November 2019 at 01:51

Hi Laura, I've found this while looking for something totally unrelated. May I ask if you got to see the boys go topless often? What did you think about it, did they mind? I went to an all girls school but did 2 PE lessons and a detention in just a bra after getting my days muddled I deserved it and didn't have any complaints, rules were rules.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 27th October 2019 at 20:26



A towel for use after taking a shower and changes of underwear and socks, are essential. All

games and PE kit should be taken home after use for washing. Pupils should be reminded to bring

it to school on the appropriate days and should not wear their day clothes for PE. A gum-shield is

recommended for hockey (boys and girls) and rugby (boys) but is not compulsory. In Year 11 both

boys and girls are allowed to wear plain black tracksuit bottoms or dance trousers for their PE

lesson, if they wish.

Girls’ PE Wear:

Plain black polo shirt from the school supplier or plain black T-shirt

Black reversible Rugby shirt with red band from the school supplier, or a plain black sweatshirt (no


Black shorts

Black or white trainers (no plimsolls)

Long red sports socks or short plain white sports socks (depending on the activity)

Football boots (metal studs are not allowed on the synthetic pitch) and shin guards

Boys’ PE Wear:

Plain black polo shirt from the school supplier or plain black T-shirt

Black reversible Rugby shirt with red band from the school supplier, or a plain black sweatshirt (no


Black shorts

Black or white trainers (no plimsolls)

Long red sports socks or short plain white sports socks (depending on the activity)

Football boots (metal studs are not allowed on the synthetic pitch) and shin guards

(Boxer shorts must not be worn during PE lessons; tighter fitting underpants should be worn.)

Comment by: Mr Jones on 27th October 2019 at 20:14

Sir Alexander Fleming School in Sutton Hill said it had given the seven-year-old pupils, who had no PE kit, the chance to take part in the session in underwear, or to remain in the classroom instead.

The school said the pupils had voluntarily taken part in the lesson, which happened last Wednesday.

But one parent, Dorcis Kimani, said her daughter was upset and felt she could not say no to taking part.

"It's ridiculous. I now want to take my children to another school," she said.

"I was in the wrong not to make sure she had a PE kit, but my daughter is very upset."

Mrs Kimani met the school's headteacher, but said they had disagreed over the approach.

She said: "I spoke to the headteacher and was told that my daughter was very happy in the session, but they don't know how my daughter was feeling. She didn't feel like she had an option. The teacher is an authority and the authority was telling her what to do."

“It was boys and girls mixed, I need an apology.”

Ms Kimani said that up to 10 other pupils had forgotten their PE kits and were still involved in the session.

Jan Cousins, head teacher of Sir Alexander Fleming Primary, said: "There were many children who had no PE Kit on Wednesday afternoon.

"These children were given the option of remaining in class or, for health and safety reasons, removing their trousers and shoes in order to take part. All of the children who had no PE kit voluntarily decided to take part in the PE lesson."

Mrs Cousins said that there was no option to hand out spare kits. She said: “Unfortunately all of our spare PE Kits had been previously issued to children and had not been returned.“ Telford & Wrekin Council claimed that getting children who have forgotten their PE kit to do the class in their underwear happens every day across the country.

Council spokesman Russell Griffin said: “This was a decision taken on the day by staff at a particular school based on the fact that the pupils in question had indicated they did want to take part in the PE lesson.

“I understand that all the pupils concerned enjoyed the lesson

“There is no national guidance on the subject but pragmatic decisions like this are taken every day in schools up and down the country.”

Comment by: Andrea on 26th October 2019 at 22:40

When were you at secondary school?
It sounds incredibly harsh having girls of up to 14 or 15 having to take part in mixed PE lessons topless!

In my school, if we forgot our PE kit, we had to borrow some (usually rather dirty and smelly) from the lost property cupboard. We were also still expected to shower afterwards, borrowing someone else's already wet towel.

Comment by: Laura on 25th October 2019 at 21:52

I thought my secondary school was horrible when I first went mainly because of the PE department but maybe it wasn't so unusual. It was a co-ed school and PE, Games, Swimming were all mixed.
There was a simple rule regarding PE lessons. If you were well enough to be at school and didn't have a note from home or your doctor to say you couldn't do PE, then you did PE whether you had brought your kit or not.
If you didn't have kit (or even just one item missing or incorrect style or colour etc.) then you did the lesson in your panties or knickers. Barefoot and topless, boys and girls alike. Once in year 10, girls were allowed to keep their bra or vests on (most girls chooses to kept their vests on) as well if they wanted to, but before year 10 this was strictly forbidden.
We also had PE Detentions. Anyone who misbehaved or didn't try hard enough would get given a PE detention and have to turn up after school to a PE Detention session, held once a week. The session had strict discipline (absolutely no talking) and consisted of a very tough workout. There was no PE kit for those taking part in these sessions, and everyone did it in their underwear, barefoot and topless, with the same exception for girls once in year 10 who could choose to wear bra or vests and knickers instead of just their knickers.
What is particularly harsh I think is that for those girls who were well developed by the end of year 9 it was especially embarrassing and, for some, uncomfortable to not be allowed to cover their breasts.
On the other hand, being the only girls wearing just a pair of briefs in a class where everyone else is wearing full kit is a powerful reminder to bring your kit next time. Also, the PE Detentions were so tough and horrible that everyone hated them, again given an incentive to try harder, not mess about or misbehave.

Comment by: Peter J on 12th October 2019 at 15:06

I agree with the latest posting by Petra. It is ironic that women's sports clothing has become less as seen in the latest sorts championships. Then on the football pitch for males, some times the shirt shorts and socks nearly cover all. Same with swimwear. It is ok for ladies to wear bikinis but there is a stigma when men wear "speedo" swimming briefs. Men are expected to wear stupid board shorts when swimming or on the beach which I find very uncomfortable. I know that some men look horrendous in swimming briefs, but in the same way some ladies figures do not suit minimalist swim suits but they still wear them. Having said the above I notice that when abroad i.e. Spain in particular, many men wear swimming trunks(briefs) without any inhibition. that is the only time I can also wear them.

Comment by: Andrea on 12th October 2019 at 12:56

No he wasn't, they wore polo shirts for indoor PE. Outdoors they had the choice of their polo shirts or a long-sleeved top.

Comment by: Petra on 11th October 2019 at 22:54

It's a sad reflection on today's world when boys are not encouraged to become men. Being made to strip off to the waist throughout school demonstrated levels of physical development. I didn't know any girl who objecting to seeing boys regularly stripped off with sweat running down their bodies as was often the case. I know definitely didn't!! I worry the way boys are taught has been very much watered down and when something that encourages boys to concentrate on their physical appearance is stopped that's when problems begin. It's ironic when women's sportswear has become less, for boys/men it's the opposite.. crazy! Andrea, was your son expected to strip to the waist for PE?

Comment by: Andrea on 1st October 2019 at 11:42

When my son was at secondary school, his PE kit was similar to that described by Mr Dando, with all the items having the school logo on. The girls was the same except the school did not supply ankle socks and they had the choice of jogging bottoms rather than shorts if they preferred.
Although the school did have showers, they were rarely used, so I made sure he had deodorant spray in his kitbag!

Comment by: Sandra on 29th September 2019 at 16:38

Seems quite an excessive PE kit and they even regulate what socks are worn that's just ridiculous.

When I was in school most PE was done in gym knickers, vest and bare feet and we survived it was perfectly fine.

Comment by: Andrea on 29th September 2019 at 14:04

To be honest I didn't take much notice of the boys stripping off to vest and pants before putting on their PE kit.
For the most part the boys ignored us too, until a few of my classmates started to develop during our last year at Primary.

Comment by: Paul on 29th September 2019 at 12:25

Well, I suppose the school can make more money by charging 14 quid for a boy's polo shirt!
But seriously Robbie, you're quite right. There's no reason why they couldn't just do as my school did and make it clear that the PE kit is different for boys and girls. Are boys really so fragile that they couldn't cope with doing PE in shorts only?
We did PE bare chested (in the gym, at least) and to me it actually felt more masculine, to be stripped to the waist and wearing a different kit from the girls. And as we grew older and wanted to impress the girls with our bodies, it was a good incentive to work harder in PE and stay in shape.
I realise that's an unpopular approach nowadays... but this was only 25-30 years ago. How has the thinking changed so much?

Comment by: Robbie W on 28th September 2019 at 23:07

A polo shirt.. What's wrong with either a thin vest or better still show their bare chest. No wonder boys lose their identity in today's feminist world. How effective is PE/Games if boys are not even made to sweat up? It was the minimum expected from us.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 28th September 2019 at 20:56

PE Kit
All pupils are expected to have the school P.E. Kit. This must be bought from school.
All Hallows polo shirt* : Gold with : Royal blue lettering
All Hallows shorts*
All Hallows blue football socks (boys)*
All Hallows blue P.E. ankle socks (girls)*
A note must be brought in to excuse any pupil from P.E. or shower

For the school year the costs for PE Kit are: PE Shirt (Boys and Girls) £14, Shorts £5 and Socks £4.

PE Kit for Year 7 starters is currently supplied by the school and is ordered at the July intake evening.

Comment by: Tim on 21st September 2019 at 18:06

Graham, when I started secondary school it was common for boys to wear different coloured vests under their school shirts.

For our first PE lesson we got changed and a good few boys put their t-shirt on over their vests.

We were taken out onto the school field and lined up and one boy was singled out and made to take off his shirt and drop it on the ground which he did, upon seeing his vest the teacher shouted out "and get your vest off too!" that came off seconds later.

The rest of the class were told to do the same thing and within seconds a pile of discarded clothes lay on the ground.

We had a lecture about toughening up and were told in no uncertain terms no vests for gym work, x country runs, fitness work and tests which frequently done more outdoors
than the gym! Even football was played as shirts vs skins.

Andrea, how did you felt about seeing the boys strip off for PE/Games.

Comment by: Graham on 21st September 2019 at 00:29

Andrea : My sister and I were both at single-sex Primary schools, so the issue of mixed changing didn't arise. This was in the early to mid '70s, too, but I don't renember any of my contemporaries wearing vests, even in winter. PE in the gym was always topless, and we had an open-plan changing-room, so anyone in a vest would have been quite conspicuous.

Comment by: Andrea on 19th September 2019 at 16:30

This was in the early 1970s and vests tended to be worn for longer than is commonplace nowadays. I certainly tended to wear them in the colder months, but not always in summer. In my case the transition to a bra came at the start of my second year at Secondary.

The other thing that has changed since my schooldays is that there are more 'inbetween' options available for girls, such as half-vests, pull-on crop-tops and bralettes, whereas our first bras were scaled down version of those our mums wore.
Incidentally, did you and your sister go to single sex Primary schools, and if not up to what age did both sexes have to change together for PE?

Comment by: Graham on 18th September 2019 at 14:36

Andrea - back in my school cricketing days, jockstraps were required kit for anyone in a school team, but boxes were only worn by batsmen and wicketkeeper. By the time I was 14 or so, virtually all of my class wwere wearing jockstraps for PE and all ordinary games-afternoon sports, including cricket, and we quite often wore them in lieu of underpants in hot weather. I don't think helmets for cricket had been thought up back then!

Your other comment about your friend needing bras as she had outgrown her vests made me wonder whether a direct transition from one to the other was typical of that era. My memory is that my sister stopped wearing vests before she started primary school, as did I, but didn't start wearing bras until the year she went to secondary school.

Comment by: Mr Flaherty on 14th September 2019 at 22:56

The Grocers, before it was turned into a comprehensive – and, ultimately, an academy with the sort of problems that never assailed the old school until it was rescued by one of the great educationalists of the day - was officially known as the Hackney Downs School.

The boys, incidentally, had to swim naked. They were banned from wearing trunks because the school thought that could adversely affect the processed water in the pool. There were rumours of boys being interfered with by masters but nothing more than rumours. It was a different age.

Comment by: Andrea on 13th September 2019 at 15:57

Just a few points following your recent post.
When my son was at secondary school, they weren't required to wear a helmet or box when playing cricket in normal PE lessons, but it was compulsory when he started playing for the junior section of a local club.

I assume that the reason for switching from wearing swimming trunks to a jockstrap for PE was to be like the older boys?
I suppose it was sensible for the school to sell uniform and sports equipment on site, so that boys wouldn't have to wait until the holidays to buy things. Someone I knew went to boarding school and she told me that following a growth spurt, when she she got home one holiday, she had to ask her mum to take her to buy bras to replace the vests she had been wearing until then.

Comment by: Roy on 13th September 2019 at 14:39

To Fred
Interesting story and very similar to mine. We all wore Litesome jockstraps as we got older, certainly we all wore them in the 6th Form. Like you I still wear a jockstrap for activities/gym etc and, as you say, why shouldn't I?

Comment by: Fred on 12th September 2019 at 14:15

It is a while since I visited this site and thought I might share a few memories.
I started at a small boarding prep school in East Scotland in 1962 aged eight. We played football and rugby in the winter, hockey in the spring and cricket and athletics in the summer. No underwear was worn and I can`t remember if this was a rule or just what we did. When I think about it no protection was used for hockey and cricket, except pads and gloves, unthinkable nowadays, I don`t suppose that you are now allowed sight of a cricket field without the full array of helmets, boxes etc and quite right too! Communal showers were of course nude and we thought nothing of it, being all boys. We were taken by bus once week to the local swimming pool and we wore speedo type trunks.
I moved on aged 13 to another boys boarding school also in Scotland, more sports were on offer and we had a recently built swimming pool and gym attached, again speedo style trunks were the norm, showering after was done nude, again we thought nothing of it. I don`t think there was any rule about underwear and certainly no "inspections" and we could please ourselves, some wore nothing and other wore swimming trunks.
The changing rooms were all open and it soon became obvious the the older boys were wearing jockstraps and we soon followed suit and by the end of our first year we nearly all had acquired one. Litesome was the brand, either cotton or some of the keener lads had the nylon version which I found rather uncomfortable, they were available in the small sports shop on the school site. I don`t know if any brand other than Litesome were on the market. We wore jocks for all sport and gym and I still wear them today for any physical activity, why wouldn`t I?

Comment by: Matthew on 11th September 2019 at 17:56

To Michael

What nonsense!

Comment by: Paul on 31st August 2019 at 14:25

here's a sad trend in this country with a steady increase in how much modesty and body shame is imposed on children as they grow up. One way this is being perpetuated is by the schools not only not requiring showers after PE, but many have actually prohibited showering! It would be far more mentally healthy for children to grow up being used to nudity and showers. By starting showers in grade 1 before modesty has really had a chance to set in firmly, they will quickly get used to nudity, both being seen nude and seeing others nude. They will not grow up with the mentality of body flaws and myths of "perfection", and will be far more accepting of each other regardless of physical traits. I also believe it would be healthy for the mental development of the children if it is coed in the showers and locker rooms. When they grow up from grade 1 getting used to seeing it, the body of the opposite sex will not be a mystery or source of embarrassment. This will result in kids who are not afraid to talk about personal matters with their parents, and also will greatly reduce teenage pregnancy because there won't be near as much curiosity about the opposite sex and sexuality.

I was raised to be modest/embarrassed/ashamed of my nude body, and without showers being required in school it was perpetuated into my teens to a very extreme level of body shame that was very difficult to overcome. I would have been far more mentally healthy if I'd been used to nudity from a young age.

Comment by: Michael on 31st August 2019 at 14:24

I am a 14 year-old boy and I attend middle school in a rural area. Our school is small and there is only one changing room and shower for PE which means that the boys and girls have to share the same facility. It was embarrassing at first to have girls see me naked but I got used to it after awhile and it doesn't bother me so much now. The boys and girls are ages 12 to 15 and we all change into our gym uniform in the same changing room. I take off my school shirt and pants and the girls can all see me in my tighty-whitey fly-front briefs. I see them in their bra and panties. We all have PE together and then we come back to the changing room and I strip naked to shower and the girls all see me naked. The shower room is right off the changing room and the boys and girls shower together. Yes, the boys all get boners but it is a natural thing for a boy and no big deal. We stand in the shower and talk to the girls who are showering with us and it is fun. I usually shower with a girl named, Kim, and we get under the same shower head together and sometimes she washes me and I wash her