Kimber, William [Bill, Merry ]
- Reg Hall
[Bill, Merry ]
(b Headington Quarry, Oxon, 1872; d after 1949). English traditional concertina player and morris dancer. Kimber’s grandfather and father were both central figures in the Headington Quarry Morris team that has danced annually at Whitsuntide since at least the mid-18th century. Kimber, who accompanied the Headington Quarry Morris team from 1888, learnt his concertina technique from his father.
It could be argued that the folkdance movement was founded on Boxing Day 1899, when Cecil Sharp saw the Headington Quarry Morris team perform. Sharp noted morris tunes from Kimber the next day and, when Mary Neil invited Kimber to London to teach the girls at the Esperance Guild, Sharp became reacquainted with him. Kimber subsequently became integral to Sharp’s didactic folkdance programme: Sharp lectured and played the piano; Kimber danced and played the concertina. They taught regularly at Chelsea Polytechnic and the Royal Academy of Music, and played several times at the Queen’s Hall and the Steinway Hall. After Sharp’s death, Kimber continued the same working relationship with Douglas Kennedy, Sharp’s successor in the English Folk Dance Society (...