Merryville was the name William Kimber gave to the house he built and lived in, at 42 St Anne's Road, Headington. It was awarded a blue plaque in 2011.
This website is an online archive of material relating to William Kimber, a morris dancer and concertina player from Headington Quarry. It was created as part of the 'Back to the Quarry' project by Folk Arts Oxford, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, bringing together material that is already available with material that has never been published before, and some that is completely new and was collected as part of the project.
You can browse through the collections of materials on the site, or search for a specific topic. If you're a teacher then have a look at our education pages to see some of the work we did using this material, and download lesson plan ideas for your own classroom.
To the right is a short video of Kimber's granddaughter, Julie Kimber-Nickelson - a folk dancer and singer living in Headington Quarry - explaining why music is important in her family.
Upload your own photos or videos, and tell us about your own memories of Kimber or Headington Quarry.
Back to the Quarry brings together several important collections, in some cases making them available for the first time. As you browse through the collections you have the opportunity to comment on them and to add your own memories or thoughts. We're always looking for volunteers to help us transcribe the material - if you're interested please register with the site (link in the menu above); once your membership has been approved by an administrator you will have the option to submit a transcription for any of the items on the site - simply visit the item page and click on 'Suggest edits to this content'. The Chaundy Collection The Chaundy collection is a set of largely unpublished interviews with William Kimber and some colleagues, made on several occasions in 1956-1959 by Theo Chaundy, a mathematics don at Christ Church and a morris dancer with the Oxford University Morris Men. We are very grateful to his son Christopher, who was present at the recordings, for making them available to us. The Loveless Recordings Morris dancer and musician Kenneth Loveless talks about being a pupil of William Kimber, and morris dancing in general. We are grateful to Moulton Morris Men for making them available to us. The Full English The English Folk Dance and Song Society’s Full English is the world’s largest collection of digitised material on folk music and dance, and includes the collections of Cecil Sharp, Maud Karpeles and Clive Carey, all of whom collected relevant material. This section links to items in EFDSS' The Full English collection that relate to Headington and Kimber.
The children from Wood Farm were really excited to discover that Kimber was born in a cottage only a couple of minutes walk from their school. They were also fascinated by the fact that he was a builder, and built houses for himself to live in as well as for others. Here is a map they created to show the important landmarks in the story of Bill Kimber. Click the rectangular icon at the top right to view full screen.