William Kimber and the morris revival


Happy Boxing Day! On this day in 1899 Cecil Sharp witnessed a performance by the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers at the home of his mother-in-law. Intrigued by the tunes, he invited William Kimber, the group’s concertina player, to return the next day so that Sharp could notate them.

Sharp did not begin his folk song collecting until four years later, and in 1905 Mary Neal, an organizer at the Espérance Club for girls, asked Sharp if there were any dances to go with the tunes he had collected. Sharp referred her to Kimber, who traveled to the club to teach the dances, thus beginning the revival of traditional dance in England.

This according to “Absolutely classic” by Derek Schofield (English dance and song LXI/2 [summer 1999] pp. 8–9). Above, the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers in 1916, With Kimber and his concertina front and center. Below, Kimber plays Getting upstairs in 1946.

BONUS: The Headington Quarry team in 2008.


Filed under Dance, Europe

3 Responses to William Kimber and the morris revival

  1. Actually got the post published just now, and it has two photos because I don’t know how to take one out! Still a techno peasant, I’m afraid.
    Happy New Year.

  2. Or May, probably. I was looking at the date from the US style: month first.

  3. Wonderful nostalgia. My father was president of the English Folk Dance Society in New York in the 1920s; I have his swords and bells. I’ve just posted a blog with photo today and mentioned your blog. Do they do this every Feb in Trafalger Square? We had The Ancient Men visiting New Mexico some years ago. There’s a dance called Matachines here that reminds me of Morris sort of.