Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. An interview with Jean Hersall. (part 2 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

    Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, Cotton End, Bedfordshire and Kirkby Malham, Yorkshire, England

  • Interviewees

    Hersall, Jean (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 2 of 2. [00:00:00 - 00:47:38]. This recording continues on immediately from the C898-59-01 recording as schoolchildren from Malhamdale continue to discuss with Iona Opie playground games and songs. From [00:15:20] in the recording, Iona is with Jean Hersall who recalls songs and rhymes from her childhood, including 'nigger minstrel songs'. The recording begins with the Malhamdale schoolchildren singing the clapping song 'My Mother Said That I Should Never' [00:00:20 - 00:00:37]. They go on to perform the singing games 'The Hoky Koky' [00:05:35 - 00:08:47] and 'The Big Ship Sails'. One schoolgirl remarks that they play this game 'not very usually' at school and instead play it at Christmas and other special occasions. Furthermore, they would always play this game in 'gym' and so it is not really a playground game [00:08:49 - 00:15:14]. The children also perform two rhymes that they learnt from a particular girl who lives in Eldwick. They sing 'My Daddy is a Dustman' (a variation of 'My Old Man's a Dustman') [00:00:43 - 00:04:09] and a rhyme that begins with the line 'money, money, money'. Iona remarks that this is a 'nonsense' rhyme [00:04:20 - 00:05:30]. There is then a short pause in the recording and Iona explains that she is now in Priory Cottage, Malham, with Jean Hersall. From [00:15:25 - 00:16:57] in the recording, Jean recites a number of rhymes and poems that her father taught her throughout her childhood. From [00:17:04 - 00:17:57] in the recording, she performs the rhyme 'Moses supposes his toses are roses'. She then recalls a rhyme that her mother taught her which she thinks is Hundustani. Her mother learnt this rhyme as a child in the 1870s [00:18:00 - 00:18:35]. For the remainder of the recording, Iona and Jean discuss a number of topics. Iona recalls a time when Jean visited in the 1950s and taught her certain rhymes while 'throwing up snowballs'. Iona then recollects how she and her children would paint the snow different colours [00:19:50 - 00:20:00]. Also discussed is Peter Opie's background and his family history. Iona tells Jean that his family were originally from Westerfield, Essex, where they lived for five to six hundred years. They also discuss Peter's ancestor, John Opie, an artist. Iona explains that he was known as the 'Cornish Wonder' and recalls a story concerning John Opie and William Godwin [00:21:55 - 00:24:10]. From [00:24:10 - 00:27:16] in the recording the two speakers also discuss death and their opinions on children being exposed to it [00:24:10 - 00:27:16]. For the last twenty minutes of the recording, Iona and Jean consider the merits of different authors and poets, and Iona briefly recalls her mother's death in Capri.

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. An interview with Jean Hersall.. Speakers' notes: Group of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Yorkshire schoolchildren. Interviewee's notes: Jean Hersall from Yorkshire. Recording notes: Slight L/R imbalance, variable throughout. Otherwise good.

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