The Bunny Run emerged from reminiscences about Stony Stratford for the community documentary musical play Worker By Name (1992) about the life and times of resident Tom Worker. It focused on the courtship ritual of young people in the 1930s. Then, they didn’t have mixed schools, or youth clubs or Facebook – where they might meet up with a member of the opposite sex; but they did have Sundays when they could dress up in their best gear; and they had the High Street where they could show it off. In some towns, this was known as the Turkey Trot. In Stony Stratford, it was known as the Bunny Run.
One local woman remembered:
The young fellows from Deanshanger, Stony Stratford and Wolverton would all walk the ‘Bunny Run’ as we used to call it. We all used to walk and smile and nod and maybe have a word with someone and nothing ever went beyond that. I suppose, through talking to boys like that, you sort of got to know them. You might have a date with a boy and go out for a walk with him. That would be the start and then it led to courtship.
This posting on the internet in June 2009 prompted responses of similar courtship rituals in Penzance, Wakefield, Manchester and Mexico!
Kevin Adams said of his song: ‘Tom would spruce himself up for Sunday with Sergeant Rollings unable to stem the rising tide of licentiousness as young men and women daringly look at one another from opposite sides of Stony Stratford High Street. I wanted a 1920s feel, with a fair sprinkling of diminished chords.’
Another local resident recalled the enduring attraction of the ‘Bunny Run’ for young men:
It was known as the Bunny Run when I was a boy, but it was back in the ‘30s, that it was called that… In my day, The George was not a pub, it was a recognised place where you went for coffee. You must think we were terrible, but we used to fight to get the seat in the window. Do you know why? Because you’re down below ground level, and when the girls went by…!
(Roger Tanner, LAMK 2016)
Images and reminiscences from LAMK archive.
The song is featured on the the Living Archive Band’s album All That’s Changed Vol 1 (LAMK)