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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  • Type


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  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects

    Children's games; Children's songs

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    Opie collection of children's games and songs

  • Recording locations

    Alton, Hampshire, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 of 2. [00:00:00 - 00:31:51]. This recording, from Alton, Hampshire, 1975, contains audio recorded when a television crew visited a school to film Iona Opie and the schoolchildren. It is not explained for what programme this was for. Throughout the recording there are extended periods in which all that can heard is background noise and general conversation. The recording begins with a group of schoolgirls singing 'Knees Up Mother Brown' [00:00:00 - 00:00:40]. Iona tells the children that she is collecting this song for her 'friend in Norway' (presumably Berit Ostberg) as she is not familiar with the tune of the song. Later in the recording, it is possible to hear the children singing 'The Big Ship Sails', however, there is much background noise. After the children finish this song an unidentified male speaker asks Iona: 'when they've finished their game will you come in and ask them a few questions?' [00:06:00 - 00:08:23]. Schoolgirls can also be heard singing the skipping songs 'Keep the Kettle Boiling' [00:00:40 - 00:00:56] and 'I Like Coffee, I Like Tea' [00:00:57 - 00:01:33]. The clapping song 'My Mother is a Baker' can also be heard; however, the sound quality is poor. An unidentified male speaker asks Iona if the children can sing this song again and can she look as if she is 'listening' and 'writing' as she talks to them [00:15:03 - 00:17:30]. The rest of the recording contains much background noise and conversation. At one point, the headmaster of the school can be heard describing to Iona the games of marbles that the children play. He notes that they play on the 'drains' of the playground and Iona explains that this is a 'newish development' [00:01:34 - 00:03:0]. The headmaster then explains that when term starts, the children tend to be more 'accident-prone' than they are later in the school year [00:03:45 - 00:06:00]. This is followed by a schoolboy reciting a short rhyme for Iona. He sings: 'the boy stood on the burning deck, his feet were covered in blisters, he had no trousers on is legs so he had to wear his sisters' [00:13:04 - 00:13:14]. Following this, a brief discussion can be heard between Iona and a group of schoolchildren who explain that they cannot play ball bouncing games at school as children can get 'hit in the face' [00:13:15 - 00:15:00]. The remainder of the recording is filled with general background noise and conversation.

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. Speakers' notes: Group of Alton schoolchildren. Recording notes: Slight wow. Otherwise good throughout.

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