Scottish School Uniform: Personal Experiences--Brief Accounts

Glasgow: the 1960s

I remember those old Glasgow schoolwear shops. Wooden shelving and floors, and that smell that was always present. I still remember very accurately moving out of shorts. Going back to school in January 1968 after the Christmas holiday, and only a couple of weeks short of my 16th birthday. Shorts were rarely an issue at school as they were common wear throughout. At my school they were compulsory till 14 and ‘parental wishes’ after that. So around 60 percent of our boys were wearing them still until 15 with about 30 percent to around 16. Fifth form shorts wearers were lower in number probably around 10 percent reducing as winter approached and no shorts wearers in Sixth form although there were no actual rules about this. At home most of my friends were under the same sort of regime at school and we would often be out in our various school uniforms even during school holidays. The only ‘teasing’ as such was from the Dollar Academy boys who teased us about having to wear ties. Getting home could be a problem with teasing though especially travelling through the city of Glasgow where ‘rougher elements’ could present a problem, but to us at that time school uniform was not only normal wear, it was also often worn for best and visits to Aunty and others. No point in the boy going to a good school without everyone else knowing about it after all. Older boys in school uniform wearing shorts were quite a common sight in Glasgow during the 1960s and they were just accepted as another item of uniform. -- Danny

Scotland: the 1970s

I remember the short trousers I had to wear during the mid-1970s. I had to wear really old very dark grey school shorts that my mother bought cheaply because they were old stock, and they had button flies. I also remember at the end of summer hols being taken for a hair cut and then to the uniform shop which I had to try on right there in the shop without any privacy at all. I was handed the whole lot including those gastly grey school uniform short trousers. In primary 7 I asked my mother to get me long trousers because I hated shorts at the time, and my wish was granted, only a week later I fell in the playground and really hurt myself and the right knee of my trousers got a hole. My mother went through the roof and I was put back in a pair of shorts that belonged to the son of one of her friends and that was that. I had then to wear them in year 1 and 2 in secondary. -- Angus

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 16, 2002
Last updated: June 20, 2002