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

    Liss, Hampshire, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 of 2. [00:00:00 - 00:32:36]. This recording is from Liss, Hampshire, 1970. Iona Opie is with two girls, both eleven years old. Throughout the recording Peter Opie can be heard joining in the discussions concerning clapping songs, singing games, school and teachers. The girls begin by singing the clapping game 'Em Pom Pee' [00:00:26 - 00:03:43]. Both girls know a different version of this song and one schoolgirl suggests that it originates from 'Scotland and […] Wales'. The children then sing 'When Susie was a Baby' [00:03:45 - 00:10:44]; 'O Susie Anna' [00:11:10 - 00:14:54] and 'A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea' [00:14:55 - 00:20:52]. Peter asks the children how long they think they have known these songs and they suggest since 'infants' which was approximately three years ago. They explain that they often play clapping games when they are 'waiting for their dinner' and get 'fed up'. Iona asks the girls why it is that when children come out onto the playground they already seem to know what they will play. One of the girls explains that a 'class discussion' of sorts occurs before playtime when children decide what it is they shall play. Peter then remarks: 'what you're really thinking in school is what you're going to play outside' and the two girls laugh and agree. The schoolgirls then explain that they are the 'worst' for chatting in class. They sit there 'chatting their heads off'. They do not like their teacher as she is 'bossy' and 'strict' and so they do not mind if they are told off by her. One schoolgirl explains that she would not shout if she was a teacher, nor would she 'bribe' the children as 'there is no hope in bribing'. She remarks that she would not mind if the children talked as 'it's only right that there is a class discussion'. There is then a drop in volume in the recording [00:21:13 - 00:26:28]. Following this discussion the girls sing a number of singing games. The children sing: 'What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?' [00:27:30 - 00:28:33]; 'The Big Ship Sails' [00:29:52 - 00:30:48] and 'The Hoky Koky' [00:30:49 - 00:32:32]. The girls remark that the game 'Penny for a Ride' is a 'stupid' and 'rubbish' game [00:28:40 -00:29:50].

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. Speakers' notes: Group of Liss Schoolchildren. Recording notes: Relatively high-level recording; slightly distorted throughout. Otherwise good.

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