Dictionary of Playground Slang (Online)

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The little paved area, below pavement level, usually surrounded by railings, outside the basement of a posh terraced house. The Contributor writes "My mum and dad also used this one, thirty years before me (I'm 24), and my mum thinks it's short for 'area'. Heard in the words chanted along to a ball-bouncing game.

One, two, three, O'Lairey
My ball went down the airey'.

She has no idea who O'Lairey was or what he had to do with the airey.

Source: circa 1950's - onwards, UK