High Jimmy Knacker

A playground game of uncertain origin but it was played in playgrounds in the 1960s and 70’s and goes under a variety of names but it is maybe best known as High Jimmy Knacker.
Two teams of players are selected, sizes of 5 to 10 work well. One team is selected to be the ‘horse’. To do this the first player stands upright with his back to a tree. The second team member faces him then bends so that the top of his head is against the leaders stomach and his arms go around his waist. Successive team members then join the line by adopting a similar position: head between the player in front’s thighs, arms around his legs. Like this the human horse is created.
It is now time for the action. One by one the opposing team must run and leapfrog over the tail of the horse trying to land as far up towards the head as possible. Once they land on the backs (with a leg either side, not on knees) they must remain in that position. The aim of the jumping team is to leapfrog all its members onto the horse and then hope the horse will collapse or break at some point. If that occurs then the jumping team has won and it is their turn to jump again. If they fail to get all team members onto the horse then they lose and form the horse themselves next time. If they all get on but the horse remains standing for a set time (20 seconds or so) then they again lose and must form the next horse.
An excellent game that is both stupid and occasionally dangerous but one that has been a source of constant employment for a generation of Osteopaths.

strange games no:146


Chris Watts said...

My father recalls playing this game in the early 1930s. The jumping team would sing "Oi Jimmy Knacker one,two, three, one,two,three. Oi Jimmy Knackerhas got a flea, has got a flea" If the horse collapsed the jumping team would call out "Weak Horse Weak Horse"

Anonymous said...

There is a Yahoo group called Johnny on the Pony that looks at the game