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William Kimber gets a blue plaque

Desert Dancer 02 Jun 11 - 12:14 PM
RTim 02 Jun 11 - 12:50 PM
Desert Dancer 02 Jun 11 - 01:04 PM
GUEST 02 Jun 11 - 04:00 PM
Tootler 02 Jun 11 - 04:28 PM
SteveMansfield 03 Jun 11 - 03:11 AM
GUEST,Rich Arrowsmith 03 Jun 11 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Dave in Michigan 03 Jun 11 - 04:03 PM
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Subject: William Kimber gets a blue plaque
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 12:14 PM

Blue plaque honours morris dance legend
By Liam Sloan
Whitney Gazette
1st June 2011

A MORRIS dancer whose chance encounter with the godfather of British folk music triggered the revival of the tradition across the country has been honoured.

The descendents of William Kimber were among 200 people who gathered in St Anne's Road, Headington, for the unveiling of a blue plaque on the home he built for his family in 1905.

On Boxing Day 1899, Kimber and the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers were out performing to earn some extra money.

Folk song collector Cecil Sharp was staying at Sandfield Cottage in the village, and when 27-year-old Kimber arrived with his concertina and dancers, Sharp asked him to return the next day so he could write down the tunes.

The meeting helped inspire Sharp's lifetime of work, recording dances, folk tunes and songs, and introducing them to the wider public.

It prompted a huge revival in morris and folk dancing, which had been in decline, and Kimber dedicated the rest of his life to promoting traditional dances.

On Saturday, Kimber's great-grandson Chris Kimber-Nickelson, 36, from York Road, Headington, marked the unveiling of the plaque with a solo morris dance, accompanied by his ancestor's famous concertina.

The chartered surveyor said: "It is nice that he is being recognised with a blue plaque, because it is important to remember these things.

"Our dances are important local traditions, and it is good they are kept going. I am proud of the family connection."

And Kimber's granddaughter Julie Kimber-Nickelson, 72, said: "He was a stern man, and not the type of grandfather who would bounce you on his knee, but once he knew I could play piano it changed completely.

"He said he could not read music, and asked me to read it for him.

Hearing the concertina played is quite hard, because I have heard it so many times over the years."

She said the family always danced regularly, in a tradition passed down through the generations.

English Folk Dance and Song Society chief executive Katy Spicer said: "Kimber is a hugely important figure.

"The chance meeting in 1899 was the first time Cecil Sharp had come across traditional dancing, even though he had already started collecting songs.

"Kimber spoke to Sharp, explained the dances and the tradition, and they became friends right up until Sharp's death."

She said that without Kimber, many dancing styles, including ceilidh dancing, could have been lost for good.

The house's owners, doctors Alistair and Parveen Reid, said they were honoured to have the plaque unveiled.

Dr Reid said: "We have been here four years, and only found out about this a year ago . It was a bolt from the blue.

"It is fantastic to have a bit of local history associated with the place, and quite an honour to have everyone at our house."

---

Thanks to the alert from EFDSS on Facebook.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: William Kimber gets a blue plaque
From: RTim
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 12:50 PM

Janet Blunt - in Adderbury, got one last year.

Tim Radford
http://www.oxfordshireblueplaques.org.uk/plaques/blunt.html


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Subject: RE: William Kimber gets a blue plaque
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 01:04 PM

Cool!

(On a related note, I see Henry Boddington got one recently, too. :-)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: Unsung Heroine (was Re: William Kimber)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 04:00 PM

Poster is "Dave in Michigan"
Re Janet Blunt:

"The manuscripts were almost lost when the house was being cleared after her death but were saved from the bonfire by the timely intervention of her housemaid, Winnie Wyatt, who understood their significance. She sent them to the English Folk Dance and Song Society [...]".

The exquisite (IMO) "usual" tune (Robinson's Tune) of the Abbott's Bromley Horn Dance was saved for us by an even rarer accident. It was written down by a visitor circa 1855, and after his death some decades later, the transcription was sent to Cecil Sharp by some anonymous hero. (When the musician Robinson died/retired, the villagers danced the Horn Dance to Yankee Doodle. Sometimes the tradition has no taste :-)


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Subject: RE: William Kimber gets a blue plaque
From: Tootler
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 04:28 PM

And a not so happy story.

Northumbrian Piper Anthony Robb came across a manuscript book in the possession of an elderly Northumberland woman and was able to copy down a few of the tunes. Before he got a chance to copy any more, the woman moved away to Cambridgeshire to live with her son and after she died he disposed of the manuscript book - possibly not realising its value - so it has been lost.

Here is one of the tunes he managed to copy, Silver Star Schottische:

X:1
T:Silver Star Schottische
M:Common
L:1/8
K:G
d3/2c/|B/G3/2 G2B/G3/2 G2|d/B3/2 B2d/B3/2 B2|g3/2f/ e3/2d/ c3/2B/ A3/2G/|F3/2A/ d2d2d3/2c/|B/G3/2 G2B/G3/2 G2|E/G3/2 G2c/e3/2 e2|F3/2A/ f3/2e/ d3/2c/ B3/2A/|[1 G2G2G2:|[2 G2G2G4|:A2A3/2B/ c2A2|B2B3/2c/ d2g2|f2f3/2e/ d3/2c/ B3/2A/|G2g3/2f/ e3/2d/ c3/2B/|
A2A3/2B/ c2A2|B2B3/2c/ d2g2|A2A3/2B/ d3/2c/ B3/2A/|G2G2G4:|


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Subject: RE: William Kimber gets a blue plaque
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 03:11 AM

The exquisite (IMO) "usual" tune (Robinson's Tune) of the Abbott's Bromley Horn Dance was saved for us by an even rarer accident. It was written down by a visitor circa 1855, and after his death some decades later, the transcription was sent to Cecil Sharp by some anonymous hero. (When the musician Robinson died/retired, the villagers danced the Horn Dance to Yankee Doodle. Sometimes the tradition has no taste :-)

Ah, the old 'Robinson's tune is the real AB tune' myth. Threads (occasionally fraught) here and here on that particular chestnut.

It's a great tune (we use it with the ceilidh band), but them's as know far more about it than I do maintain that it has nothing to do with the AB tradition.

Great news about the Kimber plaque though.


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Subject: RE: William Kimber gets a blue plaque
From: GUEST,Rich Arrowsmith
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 07:22 AM

Great news, I shall have a look at it next time I'm passing.


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Subject: RE: William Kimber gets a blue plaque
From: GUEST,Dave in Michigan
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 04:03 PM

[the otherwise anonymous GUEST above was me, could have sworn I typed Dave in Michigan, but ...]

Steve, I didn't claim that Robinson's tune was the "real" or "original" tune (after all, the Horns were carbon-dated to ... I forget, was it 11th century? and we know little to nothing of the history of the dance before the mid 19th C.), just that Robinson's is now the tune to which AB is usually danced by people who dance it, most of whom are not, of course, from AB. And I haven't done the extensive fieldwork that would be required to validate that hypothesis [hangs head in mock shame].

My information on the tune comes from a paper by Andy Bullen published (I think) in the Journal of the EFDSS; sorry, I have no citation in my head, as I got a copy from Andy himself circa 1982(?), and promptly filed it away somewhere "safe". Andy is the kind of person who could easily be a Mudcat member, though I don't know if he is, and I'm not currently in contact with him.


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