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Acting and Dramatic Games London Bridge

( Acting and Dramatic, Call and Response, Choreographed, Dancing, Singing and Song )

London Bridge is falling down
Falling down falling down.
London Bridge is falling down
My fair lady

Build it up with iron bars
Iron bars iron bars.
Build it up with iron bars
My fair lady

Iron bars will bend and break
Bend and break bend and break
Iron bars will bend and break
My fair lady

Build it up with gold and silver etc.
Gold and silver will be stolen away etc.

Get a man to watch all night etc.
Suppose the man should fall asleep etc.

Put a pipe into his mouth etc.
Suppose the pipe should fall and break etc.

Get a dog to bark all night etc.
Suppose the dog should meet a bone etc.

Get a cock to crow all night etc.
Heres a prisoner I have got etc.

Whats the prisoner done to you etc.
Stole my hat and lost my keys etc.

A hundred pounds will set him free etc.
A hundred pounds he has not got etc.

Off to prison he must go etc.

Two of the tallest players represent a bridge by facing each other clasping hands and holding them high for the others to pass under. The other players in a long line holding each other by the hand or dress pass under the arch while the verses are sung alternately by the players representing the bridge and those passing under those forming the arch singing the first and alternate verses and the last “Off to prison.” As the words —

“Heres a prisoner I have got”

are sung the players representing the bridge drop their arms around the one who happens to be passing under at the time. The succeeding verses are then sung to “Off to prison he must go.” During this last one the prisoner is led off to one side to a place supposed to be a prison and is there asked in a whisper or low voice to choose between two valuable objects represented by the two bridge players who have previously agreed which each shall represent such as a “diamond necklace” or a “gold piano.” The prisoner belongs to the side which he thus chooses. When all have been caught the prisoners line up behind their respective leaders (who have up to this time been the holders of the bridge) clasp each other around the waist and a tug of war takes place the side winning which succeeds in pulling its opponent across a given line.

Where a large number of players are taking part say over ten the action may be made much more rapid and interesting by forming several spans or arches to the bridge instead of only one and by having the players run instead of walk under. There is thus much more activity for each player and the prisoners are all caught much sooner.

This is a very ancient game supposed to have originated in the custom of making a foundation sacrifice at the building of a bridge.

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