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 was created as part of the 'Back to the Quarry' project (BTTQ), by Folk Arts Oxford, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The aim of BTTQ was to explore the musical history of William Kimber and his family, and share the story with the local community in Headington Quarry, where Kimber's descendents still live today.
The project was split in to two main sections; an education / outreach project with local schools, and the collation of new and existing heritage material in to this web resource. You can read the project blog by clicking here.
The education project took place at two primary schools in the Headington area, Wood Farm Primary School (situated a couple of minutes walk from the house which Kimber was born in) and Windmill Primary School (where Kimber used to teach morris dancing).
Three local folk artists worked with a group of children from each school. As an introduction to the topic, the children all watched a clip from the 'Music in the Family' film, had a go at some morris dancing, learned part of a Morris dance tune, and sang a favourite song of Kimber's. They then split in to smaller groups, and each group was asked to decide on an area or topic that they found interesting, and would like to learn more about, with the aim of sharing what they had learned with the rest of their class.
Approaching the workshops from a child-led perspective allowed us to get a good feel for what the children found interesting about the topic, and also helped us to develop a wide-ranging and varied Education Pack. The children approached the topic from different perspectives; some wanted to learn more about the music, some researched Morris dance styles and composed their own dances, some researched Kimber's life, and some created a map of the area with relevant landmarks on it.
To read more, visit the Education Resources page.
The other aspect of the BTTQ project was the creation of this web archive, the aim of which is to bring together a variety of information and heritage items relating to William Kimber and Headington Quarry, in a central, easily accessible place.
We have been fortunate to have received permission to use a previously unpublished set of recordings of interviews given by Kimber to Theo Chaundy in 1956, as well as a recording of Kenneth Loveless (Kimber's pupil) talking about his memories. Julie Kimber-Nickelson (Kimber's granddaughter) has also contributed some of her memories to the archive. We are extremely grateful for the support of the Kimber family throughout the project, as without them it would not have been possible.
Now the website archive is online, it is also possible for members of the public to submit memories, photos, videos, etc. We'd like to thank everyone who has done so, and hope to build our own Back to the Quarry collection to display this all on the site.
Folk Arts Oxford would like to thank Mike Heaney for his invaluable help and support with the project. We would also like to thank Julie Kimber-Nickelson and her family, as without their support the project could not have happened.
The BTTQ Education Project was run by Cat Kelly, John Spiers, and Paul Sartin, with thanks to Dave Townsend and Jack Worth from Headington Quarry Morris Dancers. The BTTQ Teacher's Pack was developed by Cat Kelly and Gavin Davenport. Audio editing for the website materials was done by Mike Heaney and Pete Ord.
FAO would also like to thank our web designer Richard Butterworth, and the English Folk Dance and Song Society for allowing us to tie in with their Full English collection. 'Music in the Family' was made by Aidan Hansell and is used on the site with his kind permission. Please click here for the full version of the film.