Talk:Thomas Bridges (Anglican missionary)

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Former good article nominee Thomas Bridges (Anglican missionary) was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
October 19, 2011 Good article nominee Not listed


I query whether Thomas Bridges' birthplace is correct. I do not believe that Lucas reported Thomas' birthplace in his book. I have read another report which puts his birthplace as near Bristol. I no longer have the reference to that source.

However, the UK census returns for the years 1841 to 1881 inclusive do not have a Thomas Bridges, nor anyone with the surname Despard in Lenton or Nottingham. There is however a concentration of Despards in Clifton, Bristol but no Thomas or George Despard.

Thomas Bridges' marriage certificate gives his residence as Bristol but that would only have related to his residence during the period of the banns i.e. on return from south America.

There were 5 children. Despard is missing from this list.

The first building was known as the Mission rather than the church and was built in 1869 whilst Thomas's wife Mary was still in the Falklands. The area where the mission stood is still known in Ushuaia as The Mission. No trace of the original building remains. FHBridges (talk) 16:11, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I have amended the article to reflect the above
  • Agreed that Lucas does not report Thomas's birthplace (Spanish WP reports it as Bristol, but no source is cited)
  • Lucas says there were 6 children. Despard is Thomas Despard.
  • Thomas started learning language at Keppel Island, but I agree Yahgan is not a native language there. Mhockey (talk) 19:08, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

To help confirm the location I have searched the UK bmd register for the marriage of George DESPARD. The only hit is the marriage of George Pakenham DESPARD to Emily COFFIN at Westbury-on-Trym Glos. 31st May 1841 (Source BMD register Clifton Vol 11 Page 350). Westbury-on-Trym and Clifton are adjacent areas and today are suburbs of Bristol. Have ordered a copy of the cert. FHBridges

George Pakenham DESPARD was curate at Lenton (Source: Lenton Times Issue 7). FHBridges (talk) 14:22, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The Lenton Times article states the GPD was curate in the 1850s. I note that Lucas refers to GPD as pastor. Pastor is a generic term, curate is more specific.

GPD lived at Westbury-on-Trym (Bristol) at least from 1841 until 1849. He was married there in 1841 and six of his children were christened there viz. John Coffin D. 1842, Emilia Georgina D. 1844, Bertha Frobisher D. 1845, Florence Elizabeth Martland D. 1847, Harriet Emma Osborne D. 1848 and Emilius Pakenham D. 1849. (Source BMD register eg Clifton Vol xi Page 296). I think this confirms, as the article now states, that Thos. joined the family in Bristol not Lenton.

(Pakenham is the name of a village in Suffolk and also the family name of the Earls of Longford.)

Lucas records that GPD had 3 daughters and a son. Possibly one boy and one girl died young so that Thos. had no recollection of them.

Lucas states on p40 that Thos. was adopted by GPD, but on p47 he refers to the Despards as his foster-parents. I think the second reference is probably the more precise. In the UK it is customary for adoptees to take the name of the family which adopts them; whereas fostered children normally retain their own names.FHBridges (talk) 15:15, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Jimmy Burns in 'Beyond the Silver River: South American Encounters' states 'In 1851 GPD found a baby boy ... abandoned on a small footbridge in Bristol. There were no messages or documents on the child but he was dressed in an immaculate frock and around his neck was a locket engraved with the letter T. GPD decided that the child was a catholic and from a rich family and adopted him. He christened him Thomas. The boy was eventually told the circumstances of his adoption and chose for himself the surname Bridges in memory of the meeting that had saved his life'. There are some obviously questionable items in this report. Firstly the date must have been about 1842 not 1851. Why did GPD conclude that the boy was a catholic (GPD was Anglican)and what is the relevance? Was Thomas christened or simply named? I find records of the christenings of GPD's natural children but not Thomas. (talk) 16:20, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

To confirm that GPD's children John Coffin D. died in 1842 and Emilia Georgina D. died in 1849, ie before GPD's expedition to South America. FHBridges (talk) 16:36, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Correction: It was not daughter Emilia who died in 1849 it was GPD's wife Emily. FHBridges (talk) 16:08, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

The 1851 UK census has GPD as head of household and Chaplain to the Christian Union, Redland, Bristol. That must surely be an orphanage not a private school. There are 5 of his children in the household viz: daughters Elilia, Bertha, Florence, Harriet and son Emilius. Also various pupils and staff. There is no Thomas Bridges or Thomas anybody. BUT there IS a pupil George H Bridges aged 11, so born about 1840. Interestingly the name above George H Bridges is George H Pope. Did the person taking the census get it wrong? Is that Thomas? FHBridges (talk) 16:08, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Correction: GPD was Chaplain of the Clifton Union not the Christian Union. The Clifton Union was the workhouse but was not at Redland. GPD appears also to have been running a private school at home where George H Bridges (or was it Thomas Bridges) was a pupil. FHBridges (talk) 16:35, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

GPD remarried in 1854 at Keynsham (source: UK BMD Register Keynsham 5c p 1101). Presumably it was his second wife who accompanied him to the Falkland Islands in 1856. FHBridges (talk) 16:51, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Lucas records the ship carrying his parents to the Falklands after their marriage as S.S. Onega whereas the display board in Harberton church records it as the S.S. Oneida. FHBridges (talk) 17:13, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Major Changes[edit]

I am making major changes to this article at my sandbox. Ryan Vesey (talk) 15:07, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

I have been asked to provide a review of the article and assist with thoughts on writing the lead.

  • I made some small copy edits as I read through the article, they are mostly of grammatical nature but can be reverted if you wish.
  • A couple of issues stick out to me:
  • Some parts of the article lack adequate sourcing. I'm looking at the second paragraph in the Expedition section, and the first third of the Return to South America section. Can the sourcing be beefed up a bit in these areas?
  • In many areas the article feels like a history of the mission to the Fuegian people rather than a biography of Bridges. Specifically I'm looking at the Expedition section and the first two or three paragraphs of the Missionary work section. There's very little reference to Bridges at all in these big parts of the article. I would consider rewriting to make it more about Bridges' work during this time.
  • Other things to look at:
  • Mary Ann Varder's brother and sisters' names are not necessary information.
  • One-sentence paragraphs are usually frowned upon, consider expanding or combining.
  • The quote of Bishop Stirling takes up about half of the Return to South America section. This could be frowned upon at GAC if you wish to take the article there. It should be formatted better at least - see WP:QUOTE for formatting suggestions and thoughts on using large quotes in articles.
  • I would move the Family section above the Retirement section. It's sort of counterintuitive to discuss his death before his family.
  • Is there information on how he died?
  • Is there information on how he was viewed by the locals? Obviously it was favorable since they made him a citizen and gave him a huge ranch. Why did they like him so much? Did he help improve their materials lives (hospitals, orphanages, civil works projects etc.)?
  • You refer to a monument. What monument? That piece of information is sort of dropped in from the blue. Perhaps move it down to his death and indicate that a monument was erected and where. Is there a picture of the monument?
  • Be consistent with your reference formats. Books should have publisher location. Website refs should have publisher, title, url, and accessdate as a minimum. For example ref 5, is this a book, an article, a website? I can't tell.
  • Is the Thomas Bridges link to the Victory Cruise site an external link? It isn't really necessary since you reference the link in the article. Consider removing.

Writing the lead

  • The lead is usually the last thing I write. That is because it is a summary of the article. It's hard to write a summary when the article isn't really completed.
  • The first sentence is fine. I would then go into Bridges' birth and how he ended up in Argentina. Then the establishment of the mission. His return to England and marriage. His return to Argentina. The work done there. His family, retirement, death and honors.
  • An article of this length could do with a two-paragraph lead. Once the contents of the article have been established and issues of comprehensiveness have been addressed, then the lead can be written. I wouldn't worry about it until you've really hammered out the nuts and bolts of the article if that makes sense. If you have specific questions or concerns contact me on my talk page. Hope this helps. H1nkles (talk) citius altius fortius 19:35, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Note I will be striking items as I take care of them unless anybody objects. In addition, due to the severity of the problems and my complete lack of knowledge of the subject, I will probably not be nominating it for GA. Ryan Vesey (talk) 04:12, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I think one of the quotes should be kept and the other should be deleted. I'm just not sure which one should be kept. (talk) 17:14, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Thomas Bridges (Anglican missionary)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Quadell (talk · contribs) 19:33, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Nominator: Ryan Vesey

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct. Issues identified below.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation. Issues identified below.
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline. The "References" section is fine.
2b. all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines. Issues identified below. This is the biggest problem with the article.
2c. it contains no original research. Since so much is unsourced, I can't tell.
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic. Not a problem.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style). Not a problem.
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each. Not a problem.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute. Not a problem.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content. Issue identified below.
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions. Not a problem.
7. Overall assessment. Awaiting improvements. Did not pass.
  • 2b: There are major sourcing issues. Entire paragraphs are not sourced, even ones with interpretations such as "...was most likely due to...". At other times, only some statements in a paragraph are sourced, while others are not. This is the biggest problem with the article.
  • 1b: The lede should mention his return to England and his marriage. I also think that there should be a paragraph break before "After being adopted", since the text clearly switches from a quick summary to a narrative of his life.
  • 1b: Use of names is inconsistent. Generally, the first use of someone's name in an article (or, sometimes, the first use in a section) should use the full name, with title if appropriate. You do this fine. But subsequent uses need only a last name. You frequently refer to "George Despard" or "George Pakenham Despard" when "Despard" would do. When Stirling is introduced, it's fine to call him "the Rev. Waite Hockin Stirling", but subsequent mentions should just be "Stirling" without "the rev". (It's particularly odd when you say "Bishop Stirling... was installed as bishop." He must not have been "Bishop" Stirling before.)  Done
  • 1a: Similarly to the above, in the "Family" section, the names are difficult to follow. It looks like each child has a different last name, which I don't think is the case. You should say "Thomas and Mary had their first child, also named Mary Ann Varder", and after that show a last name for each child.
  • 1a: In the first paragraph of "Expedition", you start at 1853, but then jump back to several facts about his time in Nottingham. That material should come first, perhaps in the "Early life" section.
  • 1a: Several parts of "Expedition" are unclear. "Following the failure of Gardiner's expeditions..." To where, and what made them failures? "...led the next attempt." Attempt at what? "He took with him his second wife..." Took where? "...with the local people..." Local to where? Also, the phrasing "...some of them learned English and some of the English,..." sounds confusing and should be reworded.
  • 1a: The 2nd "to England" should be dropped in "asking permission to return to England. When the society gave its approval, he and his family returned to England".  Done
  • 1b: "Fuegians" should be wikilinked to make it clear, if Tierra del Fuego has not yet been mentioned in the body (outside the lede). And "Yaghans" needs a wikilink in the note.  Done
  • 1a: The source says that the Doterel explosion was an accident. The article should mention that.  Done
  • 1a: The final paragraph is a bit confusing. One of the sentences isn't a sentence. And the last sentence mentions a monument erected in "his" honor, after a sentence about Mary Ann, who was not a him.
  • 6a: The copyright tag for File:Thomas Bridges with family.jpg is incorrect. (The photo was probably taken in 1883, photographer unknown. If the photographer was 25 at the time and lived to 65, then the copyright holder would not have died over 100 years ago.) I think {{PD-old-70}} would be fine though.

I understand the nominator is on Wikibreak. I'm going to close this as a non-successful nomination at this time. If you later fix these problems, feel free to renominate. – Quadell (talk) 13:08, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Great source[edit]

This source seems great. Ryan Vesey 15:25, 5 August 2012 (UTC)