These would have been the cries of chair-menders, fishmongers & ragpickers as they sold their wares daily on the streets of Oxford in the 1700s & 1800s.


(Folk song)

Chairs to mend, old chairs to mend,
Mackerel, fresh mackerel,
Any old rags, any old rags?

Lyric idea: Change lyrics to reflect what people sell nowadays, for instance, imagine what sellers in a mall might be calling as you walk by.

New gym shoes, buy new gym shoes,
Video game, fun video game,
Warm hot dogs, warm hot dogs.

See also


  • Song with chords with Solfege (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the song

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2 thoughts on “Chairs to Mend”

  1. I was in 5th grade in 1969. One of my teachers, Mr. Chappel, taught us this song. Being in 5th grade, we always thought it a rather strange song. In the spring, we went to 5th grade Conservation Camp at Camp Sealth outside Seattle. Our skit for the week was based on the song. As we sang, the first kid brought in a broken chair. The second kid brought in a fish. For old rags, we threw socks at the kid leading us. According to our counselor, Mr. Chappel was the one laughing the hardest.

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