William Kimber

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William Kimber (8 September 1872 – 26 December 1961). anglo-concertina player and Morris Dancer with Headington Quarry Morris Men.

He was the musician when Headington Quarry were encountered by Cecil Sharp on Boxing Day 1899. Sharp noted down his first Morris tunes from Kimber's playing. Subsequently Kimber acted as Sharp's informant on the Headington Quarry Morris tradition, and as his assistant at lectures - Sharp would lecture on them while Kimber demonstrated the dances and played the concertina.

Kimber's Anglo-concertina playing - making use of the left-hand to add simple but effective chordal and rhythmic accompaniments - showed great vitality and lightness of touch. The recordings made of Kimber, many of which are now available on CD, are among the very few recordings that exist of English traditional concertina players, and have been very influential on later twentieth century exponents of the instrument.

In 1894 Kimber married Florence Cripps, and they had three children. "Merry" Kimber built a house for himself in 1911, which he named "Merryville". His first wife died in 1917, and in 1920 he married again, to Bessie Clark.



  • Absolutely Classic: The Music of William Kimber, English Folk Dance and Song Society EFDSSCD03 (1999). CD includes a 64 page booklet with a biographical essay by Derek Schofield.
  • Early Days: William Kimber Talking, Folktrax FTX-383
  • You Lazy Lot Of Bone Shakers. Songs And Dance Tunes Of Seasonal Events. ‎(CD, Album, Comp) Topic Records TSCD666 1998
  • Rig-A-Jig-Jig. Dance Music Of The South Of England. Topic Records – TSCD659 The Voice Of The People. – Volume 9. CD 1998.



The Anglo-Concertina Music of William Kimber - Worrall, Dan M. (2005) London, English Folk Dance and Song Society ISBN 085418194146 Includes detailed transcriptions of 28 tunes from Kimber's repertoire.

Michael Heaney, ‘Kimber, William (1872–1961)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006 http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/37635

http://backtothequarry.net/ - online archive of material relating to William Kimber, including recordings made by Theo Chaundy and Kenneth Loveless

To English Traditional Players