The Old German Clockwinder


I got this song from one of England’s funniest folksingers, Mike Harding.

Nick Apollonio – calliope nail


A German clockwinder to Manchester came,
And Peter Von Gherkin was the old German’s name.
All up our street with his little brass bell,
“Some clocks for to wind,” this old German would yell.

I toodalum I toodalum, I toodalum I ay.
I toodalum, I toodalum in the old fashioned way.
I toodalum, I toodalum, I toodalum I ay.
Well I winds ’em by night and I mends ’em by day
ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, ding dong

He’s met a young woman in Stephenson Square.
She said as her clock was in need of repair.
She took him upstairs and he followed with delight;
In less than ten minutes, he’d set her clock right


Now this old German was the ladies’ delight;
He often went to ’em by day and by night,
And some went too fast-like, others went too slow,
But nine out o’ ten, he could make ’em all go.


Now while they were busy at what they was at,
When all of a sudden there came a rat-tat,
And in came her hubby who got such a shock,
To see this old German winding up his wife’s clock!


Our clock it was bent and knocked out of repair.
Well that poor old German, he got such a scare,
That never, oh never, for the rest of his life,
Would he wind up the clock of another man’s wife.


*note from Joseph – while the song is performed on this recording in D#, Cliff in fact performs it with the Jovial Crew in D. By request, below is the melody with chords.

The Old German Clockwinder

9 Responses to The Old German Clockwinder

  1. Stuart Ashton says:

    Thanks a lot. I’ve been looking for the words of this song for a while.

  2. Stuart Ashton says:

    Thanks a lot. I have been looking for the words of this song for some time.
    I do have a recording of Mike Harding singing it, but I no longer have anyting I can play it on.


  3. Stuart Ashton says:

    I seem to remember that, when Mike Harding sang it, after the Ding Dong sequence the last line of words in your version is repeated – ie the chorus is the same as the first four lines of your version followed by:-
    Ding Dong, Ding Dong. Ding Dong, Ding Dong.
    Well, I wind them by night and I mend them by day.


  4. Kris says:

    I have been trying to track down the lyrics for a song that was based on this one – it was probably recorded in the late 40’s, early 50’s. As I recall some of the lyrics were:
    “There once was a clock maker in London town …………….
    “a clockmaking romeo dashing and sleek, he would cry out as he went down the street”
    “Pendlelum-a-lum-a doodle lum dum, pendle lum a doodle ay,
    I wind them by night and I mend them by day, ding dong, ding dong,
    I wind them by night and I mend them by day.

  5. Glenys Georgeson says:

    I learnt tbe same version as Kris, taught by my Mother…would love to hear that version. Artist?

    • Joseph says:

      Possibly Mike Harding? He wrote it or at least started singing it publically… I’m sure that I’m not the only singer to cover it.

  6. Paddy says:

    I have the second from last verse as follows:

    Ah Wife Mary Ann, Ah Wife Mary Ann
    Why did you take in such an innocent man
    For to wind up your clock and leave me on the shelf
    If ye’r auld clock needs winding sure I’ll wind it meself

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *