The words of the Nursery Rhyme and children's song, 'The big ship sails... ' have been suggested by Kevin Dinnin. Little is known about the origins of the song, but we have speculated on possible origins
Nursery Rhyme Origins
The rhyme and song was often sang by children playing skipping games, the lyrics suited the ritual chants for children 'jumping in' the skipping ropes.
Perhaps the term 'big ships' provide a clue to the origins.
The Manchester Ship canal was opened in 1894 and is the eighth-longest ship canal in the world, being only slightly shorter than the Panama Canal in Central America.
The MSC was built for ocean-going ships - there were only six ships in the world too big to use the Ship Canal. These big ships started their journeys on the canal which led to the sea. The Manchester Ship Canal connected Manchester, W England, with the Mersey estuary at Eastham, Birkenhead. Perhaps this is the origin of the song...