LEARN A BIT OF BRITISH HISTORY THROUGH NURSERY RHYMES
Alice Bänteli & Sue Kliebenschädel explain the origins of British nursery rhymes.



Nursery Rhymes
There are thousands of traditional rhymes and sayings in English. Many of them tell stories about British history. For example, here’s one about the Great Plague 1665 – 1666.

Ring-a-ring-a roses
A pocket full of posies
A-tishoo, a-tishoo
We all fall down.

The Great Plague was an illness which killed millions of people in Europe. One of the signs of the illness was a circle of red marks. They looked like roses, and that explains the first line of the song. The “posies” are small bunches of flowers. People carried flowers to disguise the smell of the plague. “A-tishoo” is the sound of a sneeze – another sign of the plague. Then, after a few days, people “fell down” or died.


Alice Bänteli & Sue Kliebenschädel give more examples of nursery rhymes and their background.