Humpty dumpty didn't get bumped... because he bungee jumped: How our nursery rhymes have been sanitised

A new campaign has been launched to save traditional British rhymes and songs amid fears they are dying out.

The push follows sanitised, more upbeat versions of classic nursery rhymes, including Humpty Dumpty, being taught to children.

In one updated version the hero didn't get bumped or bruised at all, but instead 'bungee jumped'.In another instead of being unable to 'put Humpty together again', the new version claimed all the King's horses and all the King's men 'made Humpty happy again'.

The English Folk and Dance Society is running the new National Lottery funded campaign to save traditional rhymes and songs. Rachel Elliott, the society's education director, told The Telegraph: 'There can be a risk of people being oversensitive and sanitising these things.'They have to be contextualised – we don’t want to condone drunkenness by singing about the Drunken Sailor.'

The society has warned that in some schools children are more likely to learn eastern European or African songs than English ones.Some songs have been dropped because they refer to death, disease or war in ways that have been judged as no longer be suitable for children.The society's new campaign, which has attracted a £585,400 grant, will eventually create the world’s biggest online collection of English folk music, song and dance manuscripts.

Malcolm Taylor, the society's library director, told The Telegraph: 'The other cultures that you find in schools have more of a sense of tradition than the indigenous white children.'So they will learn about folk songs from other cultures, from Poland, and Africa – as they should, to engage those people – but you need to correct it by increasing the resources for English songs.'

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