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Wind the bobbin up

Song: Wind the bobbin up.

It's a song.
It's a nursery rhyme.
My favourite!
Is that still sung?
A regular feature of my childhood.
Not a regular feature of my childhood.
Never heard of it.
I wound actual bobbins when I was a child.
I wound actual bobbins when I was a child while singing this song.

You may sense a theme in recent polls.

Edited to add: Early days yet on this poll, but given the song's ubiquitousness in local baby-oriented singalongs around here, I thought it was a standard feature of English childhood which C (who's from Lancs.) had just happened to miss out on. I'm glad I asked since it may be either fairly recent or relatively local. I await further data.



( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
Never heard of it, but my background is South Wales and London. I shall ask G, whose mother was a millgirl.
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
I also used bobbins in the slang sense: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bobbins
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:22 pm (UTC)
My background is South Yorkshire/Derbyshire (where my grandparents came from) and (and my mother was German, but that's irrelevant.)

Though Opie records it as Yorkshire, I never heard of it, and I have fond (and clear) memories of most of our playground games and chants. It looks to me as if it originated in the mill towns (Sheffield, my hometown, had no textile industry - it was all steel and heavy engineering) so would be Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax and the other West Yorkshire mill towns.
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:25 pm (UTC)
None of which it explains how it came to rival "The Wheels on the Bus"* and "Twinkle Twinkle" as the thus-far (in my limited experience) most popular song to teach babies in NE London/W Essex.

* Which will be getting a post of its own in the near future
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:31 pm (UTC)
It's a meme! If I had to guess, I'd say that someone who had been taught it as a child introduced it to a class in Epping/Loughton some years ago. It could even have been a kindergarten or infants' teacher which would explain this odd proliferation in this area.

NB Wikipedia also says it's first recorded in the 1890s and they found it in Yorkshire in the 1980s, which is 20-30 years after my own childhood.

Edited at 2013-01-29 08:36 pm (UTC)
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
Google reveals lots of 'early learning' books and videos which are intended for nursery teachers. I'd guess that it was included in some 'standard text' collection for teachers in the 80s and spread from there.
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, and thanks so much for earworming me with 'The Wheels on the Bus.'

Jan. 29th, 2013 08:45 pm (UTC)
Further data point: T. (genesis Ireland) has never heard of it either.
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
My upbringing is South West - never heard of it.
I wound bobbins on a sewing machine at about age 12. Does that count?
Jan. 29th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
Oops, of course I wound bobbins on sewing machines. I didn't really think of that.
Jan. 29th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
I remembered it fondly from my childhood, together with its actions, and although I never wound bobbins, we used to sing it while winding wool for my grandmother, which honestly is almost close enough to tick. So I was delighted to discover that it was still being sung in Walthamstow when M was tiny. It endures for tinies because of the startlingly good actions.

On the other hand, I had never, as a child, heard the ubiquitous 'Sleeping Bunnies'.
Jan. 29th, 2013 10:07 pm (UTC)
I learnt it in school in Gloucestershire, but my mother and grandmothers already knew it I think.
Jan. 30th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
I do not know the song, but when we were squabbling children my mother used to appear and cry "I need bobbins wound for my sewing-machine!" And we would sit there laboriously winding thread around bobbins, and by the time we were done all squabbling had vanished from our minds.

And it was not until I was an adult that I learned that my mother's sewing-machine had a device for winding bobbins, that would do the job in seconds...

(My mother is now 92, and still evil.)
Jan. 30th, 2013 12:43 am (UTC)
Ours had that feature too. And it broke.

Hence my bobbin-winding credentials. (Purely voluntary in my case. My mom just yelled and sent us to separate rooms.)
Jan. 30th, 2013 11:45 am (UTC)
Ours kept breaking (the bobbin winder) and we did a better job anyhow. It did not, however, stop us arguing.
Jan. 30th, 2013 01:42 am (UTC)
You have no tickybox for "that thing drove me almost insane when my children were tiny, and you have just reminded me". I suppose "song" is probably technically accurate, but "malevolent earworm from the depths of hell" seems more appropriate...
Jan. 30th, 2013 04:22 am (UTC)
We sang it at baby groups in Manchester.

I wound thread bobbins as a kid. But did not sing the song and had never heard of it then ;)
Jan. 30th, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
Interesting.... I don't remember it from my childhood in Manchester in the 1950s, despite having a grandmother and great aunt who worked in cotton mills. We did call the things that cotton comes on "bobbins" rather than "reels", but I never knew a song about winding them.
Jan. 30th, 2013 07:50 am (UTC)
I grew up in Cheshire and never heard it until I had Daf (in Yorkshire). Interestingly I live in North Yorkshire and was taught it by a mum from West Yorkshire. It seems quite well known in my NCT area but we cover bits of North, South, East and West Yorkshire!
Jan. 30th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
I am now wondering if "Oranges and Lemons" is as well known to children as my personal history would lead me to think, or if it's really just endemic to London. Obviously many adults have heard of it, but know it from their playground days? With the moves that go with "chop... chop... chop..."?
Jan. 30th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
It was certainly sung and 'chopped' in South Yorkshire in my childhood in the 50s and 60s.
Jan. 30th, 2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
I encountered it in toddler groups here when daughter was small - not a feature of my childhood. I guess I just thought it was local...
Jan. 30th, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with quite a few of the above commenters - not a feature of my childhood but very popular with the playgroup Linnea went to. The first few times she came home and sang it to me I was clueless (until I actually saw it for myself with someone with better enunciation leading a group).
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )