MG enthusiasts were joined by members of the Kimber family at the Boundary House in Abingdon on Saturday 4th October for the unveiling of an Oxford Heritage Blue Plaque in recognition of Cecil Kimber’s former Abingdon home.
The Oxfordshire Blue Plaques scheme promotes recognition and awareness of people, places and events that have been of lasting significance in the life of Oxfordshire or the wider community.
Kimber, who was born on April 12th 1888 is widely considered by many as the father and inspiration behind the British sports car manufacturer MG.
After leaving school, Kimber purchased a motorcycle, and his interest in motorsport soon grew. However, after borrowing a friend’s motorcycle, Kimber was involved in an accident that badly damaged his right leg. After this accident Kimber made the switch from two wheels to four wheels.
A career in the motor industry soon beckoned and Kimber was hired by William Morris to take on the role of Sales Manager at Morris Garages. While at Morris Garages, Kimber developed a range of special cars based on Morris bodies, and in 1924 the MG Marque was founded, specialising in sports cars.
Such was the demand for these exciting little cars, production moved from the workshop in Oxford to four progressively larger workshops within the city. In 1930 Cecil Kimber became Managing Director of MG and the company moved to a new factory in Abingdon, where they continued to be built until 1980.
During the unveiling ceremony thanks were given to Cecil Kimber for his contributions to the motoring world by Chairman of the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board, Professor Robert Evans; MG Car Club President John Day, motoring author John Wood and Kim McGavin, grandson of Cecil Kimber.
With the formalities over conversations soon began to flow between members of the MG Car Club and Kimber’s family.
You can find out more about the work of the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Scheme here.
Article by George Woodward, MG Car Club.
Colour photos taken by John Watson.
Black & white photos courtesy of the MG Car Club Archive.