Figure 1.--These prep school boys in 1981 are in their best uniforms for Sunday church. Schools had varied refulations about when boys could begin wearing long trousers and in the case of this school, a suit rather than a blazer.
Here schools varied. Some schools required the younger boys to wear shorts, others left it up to the boys and their parents. Shorts were even more common at private schools, especially preparaory schools. Some private econdary schools also requred shorts. Rules varied from school to school. Some schools went by age others by form. Some schools had a heigth regulation. For the most part the regulations were requirements that boys wear short trousers. As shorts became less popular they disappeared at state secondary schools. Many secondary schools even prohibited boys from wearing short trousers.
For the most part the regulations were requirements that boys wear short trousers. Here schools varied. Some schools required the younger boys to wear shorts, others left it up to the boys and their parents. Shorts were even more common at private schools, especially preparaory schools. Some private econdary schools also requred shorts. Rules varied from school to school. Some schools went by age others by form. Some schools had a height regulation. A British reader writes, "When I was growing up in the 1960s, some secondary schools here used to have a height regulation as to when boys could wear long trousers. Others based it on age or form. Often boys in the the first 2 years had to wear shorts no matter how old tall they were. Of course, as in this case below, parents had the final say." A HBC reader tells us about the rules at his grammar school.
Many schools that once required short pants adopted an approach of making short pants optional for older boys. With some exceptions, for the most part the older boys chose to wear long trousers. Some boys report that they did not mind shorts, especially in the Summer but saw long trousers as more appropriate for their age.
As shorts became less popular they disappeared at state secondary schools. Many secondary schools even prohibited boys from wearing short trousers. While boys used to complain about wearing shorts, some Emglish bouys in recebnt years have complained about not being able to wear shorts, at least in hot weather. One notable event occurred at Tiverton High School in Devon on June 6, 2001. (Many comprehensive schools in Britain are called high schools.) Apparently a riot occurred because the boys couldn't wear shorts to school in the hot weather. A demonstration involved 90 pupils and the police were called. In the end three boys were expelled. It occurred on Friday of the last half term before thrir half-term Summer vacation. A BBC article entitled "Shorts protest leads to expulsions" read, "A school has expelled three pupils and suspended others following a disturbance which began with a demand for boys to be allowed to wear shorts in hot weather. At one stage two pairs of police officers attended the incident involving up to 90 pupils at Tiverton High School, a comprehensive in north Devon. Some pupils had picked up rounders bats being used in a PE lesson while others ran through the school and a fire alarm was set off. The school is referring callers to the local education authority, whose spokesman played down newspaper suggestions that there had been a "mini riot". He said police were called but essentially merely showed their presence. There was no damage. Warnings. ut three pupils, said to have had "a history", have been permanently excluded by the head teacher, Katrina Borowski. Four others have been excluded for 10 days, and "a number of others" for a couple of days
as a warning. The exclusions are subject to ratification by the school's governors, to whom parents can appeal. The trouble happened on the Friday before last - immediately before the half-term holiday. The protest began over a demand for pupils to be able to wear short trousers in the hot weather.
"The head appreciated that it was very hot," the spokesman said. Had the children dealt with it through their school council or even approached the head directly, she thought it likely the governors would have agreed to amend the school's dress code, he added."
BBC. "Shorts protest leads to expulsions," June 6, 2001.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Girls]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossary] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]