MORRIS dancers have celebrated the launch of a history project into the life of a family famed for their love of the tradition.

Folk Arts Oxford have received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £9,900 for a study into the Kimber family.

Back to the Quarry will explore the Headington Quarry family’s role in Oxfordshire folk and morris traditions.

It will set up online archive photos, stories and memories of the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers.

Oxford Mail:

William Kimber (1872-1961), above, was a morris dancer and musician who grew up in Headington Quarry.

A chance encounter with the composer Cecil Sharp led to a revival of English traditional folk music and dance.

Mr Kimber went on to dance at London’s Royal Albert Hall and in front of King Edward VII.

Granddaughter Julie Kimber-Nickelson said: “I have spent all my life around folk music. I think it is something that is inside of you if you are brought up with it and it has always been there.”

Mrs Kimber-Nickelson, from Quarry High Street, is still involved with the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers.

Son, Christopher, and husband Alan, 69, are both proud members of the group.

Mr Nickelson said: “I’ve been in the Morris world for some considerable time. I used to dance with Oxford City. I have been dancing since 1965.”

About 30 people regularly attend rehearsals at the Mason’s Arms to practice the Cotswold Morris style of dancing.

He added: “Up until now there has always been a possibility that things will die away, and be finished or not known about.”

Folk Arts Oxford – which promotes traditional music – helped secure the funding.

Director Cat Kelly said: “We’re so excited to have been awarded this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and are all looking forward to learning a lot more about our local musical history.

“William Kimber was such an important figure in the Morris revival. There are tens of thousands of dancers around the world who know his name, so we feel very proud to be able to share his story with the local community.”

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, Stuart McLeod, said: “This project presents a wonderful opportunity for local people to delve into their folk dance and musical heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Back to the Quarry can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.”

Dancers will also be leading Morris dancing classes at the Windmill Primary School.

s To share your memories of William Kimber and the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers, contact or tweet @BacktotheQuarry