Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie (part 1 of 2)

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  • Subjects

    Children's games; Children's songs

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    Opie collection of children's games and songs

  • Recording locations

    Driffield, Yorkshire, Market Weighton, Yorkshire and Bedford, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 of 2. [00:00:00 - 00:43:29]. This recording contains three separate interviews with children from Driffield, Market Weighton and Bedford. Throughout each interview Iona Opie discusses with the children skipping, clapping, singing and ball games, as well as the idea of playground 'seasons' and 'crazes'. The recording begins with the Driffield schoolchildren performing 'Poor Mary Sat a-Weeping' [00:00:00 - 00:00:20]. They then go on to sing other singing games including 'I've Got a Daughter' [00:02:26 - 00:04:00]; 'I'm Shirley Temple' [00:04:04 - 00:04:37]; 'Tennessee Wig-Walk' [00:04:38 - 00:09:04]; 'Firecracker, Firecracker' [00:09:05 - 00:09:57]; 'Eggy Peggy Lost her Leggy' [00:09:58 - 00:10:42] and 'Bluebells, Cockleshells' [00:13:32 - 00:14:00]. The children and Iona then discuss the different 'seasons' of games that regulate what games are played on their playground. The children explain that it is currently 'rounders season' and predict that the next may be an 'elastics' or 'skipping season'. One of the girls remarks, however, that sometimes there may be no season and 'you just have nothing'. When this occurs the children simply 'play on the bars' [00:00:21 - 00:02:25]. The children then discuss the skipping games 'Salt, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper' [00:10:44 - 00:11:34], 'High, Low, Dolly, Pepper' [00:11:35 - 00:12:44] and 'Unders and Overs' [00:13:16 - 00:13:31]. There is then a short break in the recording and Iona announces that she is now in Market Weighton. She is with two girls aged nine and ten. They begin by singing the skipping song, 'I'm a Little Bumper Car' [00:15:46 - 00:16:05]; 'Jelly on a Plate' [00:21:06 - 00:21:22] and 'I'm a Little Girl Guide'. Before performing the last song, the girl explains that she is reluctant to sing it as it ends with the lyrics: 'show my knickers to the football team' [00:21:22 - 00:21:52]. The schoolgirls also perform rhymes that they use when playing Two Ball. These are 'Plainsy to America' [00:18:27 - 00:20:26] and 'When the War was Over, Josephine was Dead' [00:20:28 - 00:21:01].  Lastly, the children sing two singing games. These are 'I'm a Long-Legged Sailor' [00:23:30 - 00:24:12] and 'In and Out the Dusting Bluebells' (A variation of 'In and Out the Dusty Bluebells') [00:24:30 - 00:25:02]. There is then another small pause in the recording and Iona explains that she is now at Livingstone First School, Bedford. She is with five girls, all aged ten years old, and three boys are watching. Again, these schoolgirls perform skipping, clapping and singing games. They perform the skipping songs 'I'm a Little Bumper Car' [00:25:21 - 00:25:31]; 'Mother's in the Kitchen' [00:27:25 - 00:27:36]; 'There's Someone Under the Bed' [00:27:38 - 00:28:24] and 'Popeye the Sailor Man' [00:29:11 - 00:30:58]. One of the girls explains to Iona that often when skipping they must stop the rope so that the 'little ones' can join in and skip [00:25:32 - 00:27:06]. Lastly, the children perform the clapping song 'My Father Was Born in Germany' [00:31:00 - 00:34:00] and the singing games 'At the Castle Gates' [00:34:03 - 00:38:18] and 'In a Fine Castle' [00:38:19 - 00:43:29].

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. Speakers' notes: Group of Driffield, Market Weighton and Bedford schoolchildren

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