Forever Imber

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Welcome to the Forever Imber website

Contact: Ruth Underwood, 2 St John's Grove, London, N19 5RW | Tel: 020 7272 8500

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Over the three day Easter period from Saturday 11 April to Easter Monday 13 April 2009 an estimated four thousand people visited Imber Village and St Giles Church. To view a four minute audiovisual piece by freelance Bristol photographer David White please click on:


9.00am - 3.30pm
West Lavington Village Hall,
Sandfield, West Lavington, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 4HY

Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of
the protest march into Imber Village on 22 January 1961
Organised by Councillor Austin Underwood, this historic rally led to the formation of
The Association for the Restoration of Imber which pressurised the War Department into a Public Inquiry,
in turn resulting in occasional opening of the roads and an overturning of the proposal
to remove St Giles' Church "stone by stone" from Imber to Warminster.
Can you imagine if this legendary event had not happened?

9.00: BELLS: Children and grown-ups, come and hear how bells have recently returned to St Giles' Church (now in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust) and play handbells, bringing to life the 17th century ringing changes painted on the tower wall.
9.30: STORYTELLING: Listen to tales of old Imber and fictional stories inspired by the village with Rex Sawyer, historian, former headteacher and author of best selling book Little Imber on the Downe, and Ruth Underwood.
10.00: SLIDE SHOW: Appealing to young and not so young alike, Rex Sawyer provides a commentary on Imber's past with Peter Daniels presenting old photographs from his extensive collection.
10.30: MUSIC: Sing along with "Corky" (Tristan Cork) in The Ballad of Albie Nash and hear him rap!

11.00: DRAMA: A chance for both young people and adults to bring alive the proceedings of the 1961 Public Inquiry through reading aloud the ready-made theatre script which is the verbatim transcript.
11.30: MUSIC: Singer and guitarist Tim Steer performs contemporary folk song Imber Range written by his brother Richard Steer of Warminster. Tim also sings other songs from their first album Sacred Chalk plus music from brand new CD A Song or Two...A Year or Two, a collection of 15 recent compositions of Richard's, just released and available today.
12.00: CONSERVATION: A presentation on the rich diversity of Salisbury Plain's ecology & archaeology.
12.30: EDUCATION: How do the varied elements of Imber's past, present and future relate to the school curriculum through citizenship, history, the arts and so on?

1.00: WHAT WOULD AUSTIN UNDERWOOD SAY AND DO NOW?: Join a discussion on Imber's future.
1.30: MUSIC: Hear Devizes Indie band Browfort perform their songs Forever Imber, Last Train From Devizes and more.
2.00: TYNEHAM: Learn about another "lost village" with the same story as Imber - Tyneham on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. Your chance to sing some songs from Mick Ryan's folk musical Tanks for the Memory.
2.30: WE WERE THERE: Come and meet people who were among the 2,000 protesters at the original rally held 50 years ago today and who set off in the procession of 700 vehicles from Gore Cross to Imber at 2.30pm.
3.00: MUSIC: Ruth Underwood sings her Song of the Open Downs joined by today's other musicians.

* displays of Imber archives * books, CDs and DVDs for sale * children's activities *
* live music * audio-visual piece by David White * films about Imber *
* refreshments on sale courtesy of West Lavington Village Hall & Youth Club

All welcome - Admission free but donations invited to cover expenses - THANK YOU!
Enquiries: Ruth Underwood 020 7272 8500 ruthunderwood.kitty123@gmail. com

* A new website has been set up by Neil Skelton: giving opening times for the church. You can contact Neil by email on [email protected] or on 07968 242 075.

* For information about Henry Buckton's Lost Villages DVD please see Memories of a ghost village brought to life on DVD.

* The story of Imber has now reached Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Anna Aslanyan, a journalist from Moscow has compiled a feature for Radio Free Europe. You can hear the story and interviews in Russian here.

* There is a four-page article by John Hannavy, entitled Restoring Imber Church, in the April/May 2009 issue of Wiltshire magazine. It can be viewed online by following this link: or by going to and finding April/May edition, pages 28-31.