User:Tony Holkham

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Tony Holkham
Folla Azalea 011eue.jpg This user is a Naturalist.
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg This user is interested in literature
Pencil openclipart.png This user loves to write.
Flag of Wales 2.svg This user is a member of
WikiProject Wales.
Battle of Waterloo.JPG This user loves History!
Flag of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.svg Member of the RNLI task force
Symbol support vote.svg This user significantly contributed to the promotion of Royal National Lifeboat Institution to good article status.
Genealogy icon.png This user is interested in Genealogy.
Sciences exactes.svg This user is interested in
Nuvola apps edu science.svg
F1 chequered flag.svg This user is interested in motor racing.
Saab wordmark grey.svg This user is a Saab enthusiast.
Stainer.jpg This user enjoys classical music.
Pencil.svg This user has created 70 articles on Wikipedia.

Tony Holkham is a published author and writing tutor in the business and private sectors. He has made more than 9,000 edits and created 70 articles on Wikipedia, mostly relating to his interests in maritime, local and family history, geography, science, the countryside, music and some sports.

Places of interest[edit]

East Hampshire, south-west Surrey, south and west parts of West Sussex, north Devon and West Wales, particularly Pembrokeshire.

Topics of interest[edit]

Principal sources[edit]

Since citations are essential when editing, here are some of the sources I use to generate reliable references -


  • British History Online
  • British listed buildings
  • Published works - Google Books and Amazon ("look inside" features), Internet Archive, university archives online, public libraries
  • Published news - local and national news sites, archived newspapers online
  • Downloadable leaflets from (mainly) non-commercial sources, such as county/national authorities and institutions
  • Adapted references from Wikipedia articles on related subjects
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary
  • Fowler's Modern English Usage (published 1926, and a favourite contradiction)
  • Smyth, W. H. The Sailor's Word-Book. Conway Maritime Press, 2005


Articles created[edit]

What's good about Wikipedia[edit]

  • The pleasure of learning something new every day
  • The good-natured and supportive people
  • The almost infinite opportunities to contribute
  • The helpful and stimulating content

What's not so good about Wikipedia[edit]

  • Articles with references but no inline citations - how are you supposed to verify a statement?
  • Edits by unregistered users (with a few exceptions)
  • Vandalism - what's the point?
  • Too many stubs - where to start?

Appreciation (scroll)[edit]

Wikiproject Wales Barnstar.png The Wales Barnstar
For taking the time and care to update articles of Welsh interest - particularly Pembrokeshire - to a high level. Diolch. Hogyn Lleol (talk) 21:03, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Peace Barnstar Hires.png The Barnstar of Diplomacy
Thanks for fixing the article at St Davids Lifeboat Station without rancor. Bearian (talk) 15:34, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
Meissen-teacup pinkrose01.jpg Thanks for creating Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station. Microchip08 (talk) 21:21, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
Original Barnstar.png The Original Barnstar
For all your work on the Digital inheritance article! :D — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 15:43, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Tireless Contributor Barnstar Hires.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
For your recent efforts with Welsh place infoboxes. They really improve articles! ♦ Diolch am y gwaith caled!Hogyn Lleol (talk) 10:56, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Aiming for B (or higher)[edit]

This list is a useful reminder of the minimum (B-class) to aim for in creating articles -

  • 1.The article is suitably referenced, with inline citations where necessary. It has reliable sources, and any important or controversial material which is likely to be challenged is cited. The use of either ref> tags or citation templates such as cite web}} is required.
  • 2.The article reasonably covers the topic, and does not contain obvious omissions or inaccuracies. It contains a large proportion of the material necessary for an A-Class article, although some sections may need expansion, and some less important topics may be missing.
  • 3.The article has a defined structure. Content should be organized into groups of related material, including a lead section and all the sections that can reasonably be included in an article of its kind.
  • 4.The article is reasonably well-written. The prose contains no major grammatical errors and flows sensibly, but it certainly need not be "brilliant". The Manual of Style need not be followed rigorously.
  • 5.The article contains supporting materials where appropriate. Illustrations are encouraged, though not required. Diagrams and an infobox etc. should be included where they are relevant and useful to the content.
  • 6.The article presents its content in an appropriately understandable way. It is written with as broad an audience in mind as possible. Although Wikipedia is more than just a general encyclopedia, the article should not assume unnecessary technical background and technical terms should be explained or avoided where possible.


Another list to try to follow... Grammar and layout checklist

  • The lead needs to adequately summarize the content of the article.
  • There should not be anything in the lead not mentioned in the rest of the article.
  • Only make wikilinks that are relevant to the context. Common words do not need wikilinking and a word only needs to be wikilinked once within each section.
  • Text should not be sandwiched between two adjacent images. Image captions should not end with a full-stop if the caption does not form a complete sentence.
  • Book references need the author, publisher, publishing date and page number.
  • Web references need the author, publisher, publishing date, access date, language (if not English) and format (if a PDF file).
  • Blogs and personal websites are not reliable sources.
  • Inline citations belong immediately after punctuation marks.
  • Each "notable resident" needs a reference.
  • Include lists only if they cannot be made into prose or their own article. Lists within prose should be avoided.
  • Unspaced en dashes are used for ranges. Unspaced em dashes or spaced en dashes are used for punctuation. The same applies to dashes in the footnotes. See WP:MOS#Dashes.
  • " " (non-breaking space) should be typed between numbers and units.
  • Imperial measurements should be accompanied by the metric equivalent in brackets, and vice versa. If possible, use a conversion template, eg. {{convert|5|mi|km|0}}.
  • Whole numbers under ten should be spelled out as words, except when in lists, tables or infoboxes.
  • Sentences should not start with a numeral. Either recast the sentence or spell the number out.
  • The words "current", "recent" and "to date" should be avoided as they become outdated.
  • Southeast is one word (and may or may not be hyphenated). This does not apply when it is the name of an area, eg. South East England.
  • In longer sentences, a comma may be needed before "and", "due to", "such as", "including", "as", "because" or "but".
  • Full-stops are needed after each initial in someone's name.
  • Avoid weasel words, such as "it is believed that", "is widely regarded as", "some have claimed".
  • Avoid peacock terms, such as "beautiful", "famous", "popular", "well-known", "significant", "important" and "obvious".
  • Avoid vague words, such as "various", "many", "several", "long" and "almost"
  • Avoid phrases with redundant words, such as "is located in", "the two are both", "they brought along", "they have plans to", "they were all part of", "the last ones to form", "both the towns", "outside of the town", "all of the towns", "received some donations", "still exists today", "it also includes others", "many different towns", "available records show" and "in the year 2007".

A Wikipedia article about me? Hmmm...[edit]

There was a time when I thought it would be "cool" to see a Wikipedia article about me. Having got to know Wikipedia a little better, I realised it was a double-edged sword; perhaps even a poisoned chalice. Sure, there's the chance to become more widely known as a professional and sell more books. On the other hand, do I want my private life splattered on one of the web's most widely-used sites without any control over the content?

No. My private and working lives have always been separate. While there is inevitably some spill between the two, I currently have control over what leaks in either direction, and I like it that way. I have had a life, and of course there have been positives and negatives in it - things of which I'm proud, and equally things about which I'm not. Everyone's life is like that.

But to have to constantly check whether what is said about me in this marvellous encyclopedia? To wonder whether it is balanced? To wonder whether it is fair? No again. What is important about Wikipedia, I think, is that it grows as a useful, unbiased and trusted non-commercial resource for writers like me to check established facts and glean ideas to use in my creative work. To have an article about me would be rather pointless, wouldn't it?

So I don't think it would be "cool" after all.

(I have, however, added brief biographical details below)

Hidden agenda[edit]

Having used Wikipedia a great deal for some years, and now contributing in a small way, I often see hints of hidden agenda in articles. The resource is edited by human beings and so it is very hard to keep personal views or bias out of it, as I have found when editing myself. We are most likely to create or edit articles on subjects we are familiar with, and care about, and some sort of stance is inevitable.

Should we avoid editing these topics because we may be biased? That would be self-defeating. Wikipedia needs experts. What it doesn't need, though, is anonymous (and often unsourced) editing, and it surprises me how much of this there is. I even wonder whether it should be restricted but, as a newcomer, that's not for me to judge. I am happy to contribute on the basis that some of my contributions may seem to be biased, but at least readers know who I am and where I stand, that I have the best interests of Wikipedia at heart, and any agenda I may show, intentionally or not, are in plain view.


Tony Holkham was born in a Nissen hut in Mitcham, Surrey in 1948. His parents had married in 1944 while serving in the Royal Navy during World War 2. They moved house quite frequently and Holkham was educated at three different primary schools, then Godalming Grammar School and (for the rest of his secondary education) Churcher's College, Petersfield, Hampshire.

Holkham's father was a civil servant, originally with the Crown Agents and subsequently involved with aviation projects such as BAC TSR-2, Panavia Tornado and Concorde; Holkham's mother was educated at Withington Girls' School and, having trained in librarianship and (until the war intervened) architecture, became what was quaintly known as a housewife, but she found time to raise three children, do part-time secretarial work, organise student exchanges, create gardens, play the piano, write poetry and keep a diary.

Living in the country for most of his life and encouraged by family, friends and school, Holkham developed a love of the natural world, the written word and all things maritime, geographical, historical and musical. After three years working for a bank, then 21 as a technical writer for ICI, Holkham became a consultant in 1990 and, eventually, a full-time writer. Although now drawing a pension, Holkham has no plans to retire.

Published Works[edit]

  • Being Sparky: Some people think I'm only a dog ISBN 1514147627 Invalid ISBN
  • Views from the Hills (3 volumes: 2011, 2012, 2013 and blog 2014) - Nature writing
  • Ernest Briggs & the Great War (4 volumes) - a 1928 illustrated battlefield tour, revisited ISBN 1497424372
  • Beating the Big One - Alan Priddy's adventures in the North Atlantic and elsewhere ISBN 0952030551
  • The Briggs Book - recipes, remedies & household hints from way back when ISBN 1496082486
  • Money Management Made Easier - a practical handbook for ordinary people
  • Label Writing & Planning - a guide to good customer communication ISBN 0316690902
  • Challenge - a round-Britain sailing relay organised by the Multiple Sclerosis Society ISBN 0952030535
  • Abandoned Tales - short stories
  • Sonnets

All books are sold through Amazon as e-books and/or printed editions. Other published work includes articles, reviews, stories and letters in a wide range of newspapers, magazines and anthologies, and discussions on radio.

Holkham keeps a large, free to download index here on the name Holcomb/Holcombe and its 100-odd spelling variants (including his own) that have occurred in England and Wales since 1066.