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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Boys playing street football in London, 1950s

A question emailed in from a old Harringavian. Can you help?

Does anyone remember the boys playing a team game? The object was to jump on the opposing team's backs and stay on. A bridge was formed by the first boy holding on the wall. I cant remember the name. It was pretty rough game and loud. Are there any old North Harringay boys out there? (Girls weren't allowed. We played skipping and big ship chain and ball games).

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I  can recall playing a very similar game when attending South Harringay School from 1928 to33, although I do not recollect it being called 'Bridge', nor really being a 'team game'.  One lad would stand facing a school wall, a foot or two away from it, and then bend at the waist, as one would to play leapfrog.  He would then brace himself by placing the palms of his hands against the wall.  A queue of boys formed-up a dozen or so yards behind him and then, one by one, would run forward and jump astride his back.  The lad who could support the greatest number on his back before he collapsed under their combined weight was the winner.  It was noisy, to a degree 'brutal', and much favoured on occasions by the bullies of the playground! 

Arthur Astrop

Thanks for that Arthur. Hope you're well.

yes thats it ...was it called eton wall thamks  for remembering

Irene Rose Neil

Sadly I simply cannot recall what the game was called, or even whether in fact it had a name.  I know I used to dread being chosen as the one to be the 'bridge', as some of the jumpers seemed to me to be twice my size and weight!  You mention the 'eton wall'.  There is a very old game known as The Eton Wall Game, played by scholars at the famous public school of that name and dating back several hundred years, I believe.   But that game involves chasing an actual ball, and of course the bridge does not.

Best wishes

Arthur Astrop

Like the writer I cannot recall the name although I played it at North Harringay between 48 and 54. It was banned at one time - probably too many injuries. That may have been after Lesley Patterson took over as head?

There was another game that lasted for a while - marbles were shrouded in  milk bottle tops and rolled down the slop outside the Falkland road entrance.

I remember the game, it was called "Jimmy Nacker" in Tottenham. We would jump on the backs of the other team that were bent over in a line against a wall and if we all got on and stayed on we would chant.

Jimmy Jimmy Nacker, om bom bay om bom bay and away, on the away call we would all fall over dragging the poor team underneath us to the ground.

I was surprised in the picture that none of the kids had school caps on, Mind you that was always the first thing thrown away by yourself or a mate after school.

Laurie Marson   

Thanks Laurie.

Does this look familiar to any of you (the activity rathe than the location)?

Exactly! 

I recall Jimmy Knacker but have a feeling ours was called something to do with Bulldog?

Link below calls it Rigamajee which is oddly Indian. And om bom bay is detected as Swedish and translated as the boom bay!!

This link is worth a look http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/playground/clips/running/121205.html

that link is amazing what tough boys you all were

Yes that's an excellent social history link Richard. What part of the world do you live in now?

Hi - I'm in Norfolk now. Retired in 2003 but was already here then - sort of between my wife's work locale and Cambridge where I was working. One thing and another led us to move further up the county - but I love Norfolk; low traffic levels especially! By the way Bulldog is well wrong that was the scout's favourite activity at times 'British Bulldog' - a kind of tag with attitude! try www.woodses.co.uk for more.

Some fantastic clips. I remember the clapping game where you sang about Susie. It was always considered a bit risqué when you got to the bit about her leaving her bra in her boyfriend's car.

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