Q. What is the origin of the British children's rhyme, "The big ship sails on the alley alley o"?

Hi guys! I got nowhere researching this online. Maybe one of the print reference books will have a clue.


Hello Mary-

I was unable to find the nursery rhyme "The Big Ship Sails..." in any of our Reference books.  I checked Granger's Index to Poetry and The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rymes.  It was not listed.  However, Kayleigh was able to find two sites that may be helpful.  It appears that no one really knows the origin of the rhyme. 

Here are the links:



We hope that these will help.


Tina O'Driscoll


  • Last Updated Jan 09, 2019
  • Views 2316
  • Answered By Department Reference & Adult Services

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