London songs and games

A smooth road to London town

Anna Marie

Follow my leader to London Town

How many miles to London town?

London Bridge

London’s burning

London Hill

Pop goes the weasel

Pussy cat, pussy cat

Saint Paul’s steeple

See saw, sacradown /

The merchants of London

The Tottenham toad

The winds they did blow / The squirrel

Three pirates came to London town

Young lambs to sell

 

Also see:

Oranges and lemons

The muffin man

 

The songs below are part ofAway we go’ Round and about compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

Last updated: 4/10/2018 4:04 PM

Return to ‘Singing games for children’ home page

To watch and listen to music from these songs click on 🔊

 

© Dany Rosevear 2014 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

·       you must give the original author credit

·       you may not use this work for commercial purposes

·       for any re-use or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work

·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder

Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.

 


 

 

A smooth road to London town

 

A knee bouncing game to play with a baby or a toddler.

 

 

 

 

 

A smooth road to London town,

A smooth road to London town,

(bounce baby gently on your knees)

The road goes up and the road goes down,

(raise and lower knees)

A smooth road to London town.

But … by and by we come to a dell,

There the roads are not so swell,

A bumpy road, a bumpy road, a bumpy road

to London town.

(bounce baby up and down in a lively manner)

 

A smooth road …

But, by and by we come to a wood,

There the roads are not so good,

A bumpy road, a bumpy road, a bumpy road

to London town.

(movements as before)


 

Anna Marie O

 

This is an old Dutch song where Anne Marieken opines that without a man she will not get beaten and without a child she won’t have to worry.

This English version now sounds rather outdated to the feminist ear but is one that I taught in my early days of teaching and has a delightfully cheerful tune.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Oh, where are you going, my Anna Marie?

Oh, where are you going, my Anna Marie?

Going to London the soldiers to see,

Hop sa sa sa, fa la la, Anna Marie.

Going to London the soldiers to see,

Hop sa sa sa, fa la la, Anna Marie.

 

Oh, where are you seeking, my Anna Marie?

Oh, where are you seeking, my Anna Marie?

Seeking a husband wherever he be,

Hop sa sa sa, fa la la, Anna Marie.

 

Oh, where are you looking for, Anna Marie?

Oh, where are you looking for, Anna Marie?

Looking for mother to get me my tea,

Hop sa sa sa, fa la la, Anna Marie.

 


 

 

Follow my leader to London Town O

 

Get the bands marching to this cheerful song. Children take it in turns to be the leader and choose an imaginary or real percussion instrument to play.

To ensure all children get a turn at being leader make five or six lines that weave in and out of each other. Alternatively have one group marching with a set of instruments while the others clap hands in time to the music.

 

If instruments are lacking have verses such as Marching along..., tapping our shoulders, clapping our hands..., stamping our feet.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Follow my leader to London Town,

London Town, London Town.

Follow my leader to London Town,

So early in the morning.

 

Beating a drum to London Town...

 

Jingleing bells to London Town...

 

Tooting a flute... 

Strumming a guitar...

Tapping a tambor...

Clapping the claves…

 

 

 


 

 

London Bridge O

 

This very old game is played in many countries where rivers and bridges have had an almost mystical resonance and bridge building has always been a dangerous occupation. This song which is played in a similar way to ‘Oranges and lemons’ has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 502.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


London Bridge is falling down,

Falling down, falling down,

London Bridge is falling down,

My fair lady!

 

Build it up with penny loaves,

Penny loaves, penny loaves.

Build it up with penny loaves,

My fair lady!

 

Penny loaves will tumble down,

Tumble down, tumble down

Penny loaves will tumble down,

My fair lady!

 

Build it up with wood and clay,

Wood and clay, wood and clay,

Build it up with wood and clay,

My fair lady!

 

Wood and clay will wash away,

Wash away, wash away,

Wood and clay will wash away,

My fair lady!

 

Build it up with iron and steel,

Iron and steel, iron and steel,

Build it up with iron and steel,

My fair lady!

 

Iron and steel will bend and bow,

Bend and bow, bend and bow.

Iron and steel will bend and bow,

My fair lady!

 

Two children make an archway with hands held high and quietly choose who will be ‘silver’ and who ‘gold’. The rest form a line and pass under the arch

 

 

The two making the arch lower their arms over each child as they move through capturing one on the word ‘lady’. This child out of hearing chooses to be gold or silver and stands behind either the ‘gold’ or ‘silver’ leader.

 

 

When all children have been captured there is a tug of war.

 

Build it up with silver and gold,

Silver and gold, silver and gold,

Build it up with silver and gold,

My fair lady!

 

Silver and gold will be stolen away,

Stolen away, stolen away,

Silver and gold will be stolen away,

My fair lady!

 

Build it up with stones so strong,

Stones so strong, stones so strong,

Build it up with stones so strong,

My fair lady!

 

Stone will last for ages long,

Ages long, ages long,

Stone will last for ages long,

My fair lady!

 


 

 

London’s burning O

 

This song originated from the Great Fire of London in 1666 which devastated much of the city. It is commonly sung as a round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


London's burning, London's burning,

Fetch the engines, fetch the engines.

Fire fire! Fire Fire!

Pour on water, pour on water.


 

 

London Hill O

 

Make up your own verses for this simple song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As I went over London Hill,

London Hill, London Hill,

As I went over London Hill,

So early in the morning.

 

The snow fell down on London Hill,

London Hill, London Hill,

The snow fell down on London Hill,

So early in the morning.

 

I shivered and shook on London Hill,

London Hill, London Hill,

I shivered and shook on London Hill,

So early in the morning.

 

I stamped my feet on London Hill,

London Hill, London Hill,

I stamped my feet on London Hill,

So early in the morning.

 

I clapped my hands on London Hill,

London Hill, London Hill,

I clapped my hands on London Hill,

So early in the morning.

 

I danced and sang on London Hill,

London Hill, London Hill,

I danced and sang on London Hill,

So early in the morning.

 

March around the room in and out of each other.

 

 

 

Move fingers up and down and swirl around like the snow.

 

 

 

 

 

Hold arms and shiver and shake.

Continue moving around the room to the movement suggested by the words.

 


 

 

Pop! goes the weasel O

 

This song was based in London’s East End; the Eagle was a music hall in the City Road. ‘Pop’ meant to pawn. It was popular as a singing game possibly as early as the 17th century and it is suggested linked with the Huguenots silk weaving trade. It is said that Queen Victoria and Albert enjoyed dancing to this music making it the height of fashion to do so.

 

For simplicity walk or skip around the room and then at the word ‘Pop!’ jump high and clap hands above the head. Another simple game can be found at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-syqPaxuf7Q&feature=related

The dance below is a version of the Virginia reel. Yet another dance can be found in ‘La belette‘ see Allons-y’ The French collection and such movements would also work well with ‘with the song below.

 

Split class into sets of six or eight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Up and down the City Road,

In and out the Eagle,

That’s the way the money goes,

Pop! goes the weasel.

Half a pound of tuppeny rice,

Half a pound of treacle,

Mix it up and make it nice,

Pop! goes the weasel.

 

 

 

 

 

All around the cobbler’s bench,

The monkey chased the weasel,

The both of them had lots of fun,

Pop! goes the weasel

A penny for a spool of thread,

A farthing for a needle,

That’s the way the money goes,

Pop! goes the weasel.

 

Stand opposite partner in two long lines.

Top couple chasse down and back while the others clap and sing.

All make a two hand swing with a jump and clap to finish.

Head couple turn away from each other and march up the outside to the bottom of the line, followed by the others. There they make an arch for the other couples to go through. These couples swing jump and clap.

 

Repeat as above

Version 2: Four groups of four children circle round one child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


Pussy cat, pussy cat O

 

It is likely that the queen in this popular nursery rhyme was Queen Elizabeth 1st It would be lovely to think this event actually happened to such a strong character!

 

Roud Folk Song Index number of 15094

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?

I've been up to London to look the Queen.

Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you do there?

I frightened a little mouse, under a chair.

 

 

 

 


 

 

See saw, sacradown /

How many miles to London town? O

 

There is also an U.S.A. version of this rhyme (The Only True Mother Goose Melodies, by Munroe and Francis) that goes ‘That is the way to Boston town’.

It has a Roud number 20213.

 

Sit toddler facing you on your lap and holding their hands and move back and forth.

Alternatively older children can sit in pairs opposite each other and move back and forth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


See saw, sacradown,

Which is the way to London town?

One foot up and the other foot down.

That is the way to London town.

 

SPOKEN (Roud 8148)

How many miles to London town?

Three score and ten;

Can I get there by candlelight?

Yes, and back again.

If your heels are nimble and light,

You may get there by candle-light.

 

See saw, sacradown...

 


 


 


 

Saint Paul’s steeple O

 

This nursery rhyme is not as well known as many probably because it is difficult for young children to sing, it replicates the peel of church bells. It is a song from the Middle Ages and refers to the original St Pauls when the city was much more rural in nature with hedges and lanes predominating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Upon Paul's steeple stands a tree,

As full of apples as may be,

The little boys of London town,

They run with hooks to pull them down,

And then they go from hedge to hedge,

Until they come to London Bridge.

 

 

 


 

 

The merchants of London 🔊

 

 


This is one of several nursery rhymes that can be found in Beatrix Potter’s ‘The tailor of Gloucester’. From ‘Sixty songs for little children’ music by W. Gillies Whittaker published in 1933.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hey diddle, dinkety, poppety pet!

The merchants of London, they wear scarlet,

Silk in the collar and gold in the hem;

So merrily march the merchant men.


 

 


 


The Tottenham toad O

 

Tottenham is a borough of London UK; this 400 year old folk song is about a Tottenham lad (toad) courting a young Enfield lass (squirrel) but the flooded River Moselle makes life difficult for them.

Cecil Sharp collected this nonsense song in Virginia USA; ‘Nursery Songs from the Southern Appalachians’ 1921 Roud nos 3624.

 

It has a cheerful steady beat and would work well with percussion instruments. It also lends itself to moving about the room in different ways; running up the road, skipping…, jumping… - ask children for suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


d

The Tottenham Toad came trotting up the road

With his feet all swimming in the sea.

Pretty little squirrel with your tail in curl,

They’ve all got a wife but me.

 

 

 


 

 

The winds they did blow / The squirrel 🔊

 

 


This traditional rhyme has been adapted and set to ‘a familiar tune’ by George Linley from ‘50 Nursery songs and rhymes’ published 1864.

Music arranged by Dany Rosevear. I have a feeling I sang it to a different tune in my early days of teaching but cannot recall it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The winds they did blow,

The leaves they did wag,

Along came a beggar boy,

And put me in his bag.

 

He took me up to London town,

A lady did me buy,

She put me in a silver cage,

And hung me up on high;

 

With apples by the blazing fire,

And nuts for to crack,

Besides a little feather bed,

To rest my little back.

 


 

 

 

Three pirates came to London town 🔊

 

 


An old English sea shanty.

This is part of a much longer song about drinking and courting; you can find the longer version at:http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/591.html. Some say it is based on the tune ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’.

I first came across it in a Singing Together, Autumn 1971, BBC Publication.

 

Raise three fingers. For each Yo ho! throw fist in the air and look fierce. Put telescope (rolled fist) to eye and crown on head.

Each time the song is sung make diffent action during the last lines: Raise anchor, hoist the mainsail, scrub deck, climb rope ladder, in the crows nest, check no-one has fallen overboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Three pirates came to London town,

Yo ho! Yo ho!

Three pirates came to London town,

Yo ho! Yo ho!

Three pirates came to London town

To see the king put on his crown,

Yo ho, you lubbers, Yo ho, you lubbers,

Yo ho! Yo ho! Yo ho!


 

 

 

Young lambs to sell 🔊

 

 


Originally a London street cry for selling toy lambs made of wool and wood.

The song comes from ‘Little songs from long ago’ by Alfred Moffat published in 1912.Arranged by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Young lambs to sell, young lambs to sell,

Young lambs to sell, young lambs to sell;

If I'd as much money as I’ve heard tell,

I wouldn’t come here with young lambs to sell.

 

Get ready your money and come to me,

I’ll sell a young lamb for one penny.

One for a penny, eight for a groat,

As fine young lambs as ever were bought.


 

 

Return to ‘Singing games for children’ home page