William Samuel Bambridge (
19 March 1820– 1 May 1879) was a school-teacher who accompanied George Augustus Selwynand William Charles Cottonin the Te Waimate mission, New Zealandbefore returning to Englandwhere he became photographer to Queen Victoria. Three of his sons became England international footballers.
Bambridge was born in
Windsor, Berkshire, England, the second son of George White Bambridge and his second wife, Harriet. His father was a professional flautistwhose first wife had died within two years of their marriage. He had three children with Harriet who died in June 1821, shortly after the birth of her third son. George re-married in December 1848 and his third wife, Mary, bore him three children, the last of whom was born in December 1853, when George was 64. George died in September 1860. [ [http://www.bambridge.org/php/TNG5/getperson.php?personID=I050&tree=BAMB01 George White Bambridge at www.bambridge.org] ]
William Bambridge married Sophia Thorington at
Cleweron 2 November 1841. Bambridge had trained as a teacher and was recruited by Selwyn who had recently been appointed as the first bishop for New Zealand. Selwyn had been a tutor at Eton Collegeand recruited most of the other clergy and ordinards from the surrounding area of Eton and Windsor to accompany him on his mission. The party also included William Charles Cottonwho had been appointed as chaplain. The missionary party of 23 members set sail from Plymouthlate on 26 December 1841on board the barque"Tomatin". In April 1842 the "Tomatin" arrived in Sydney. The boat was damaged by a rock on entering their landing place and, rather than wait for its repair, some of the party, including Selwyn, Cotton and Bambridge, set sail for New Zealand on the brig"Bristolian" on 19 May. They arrived in Aucklandon 30 May. After spending some time as guests of Captain William Hobson, the first Governor of New Zealand, they set sail for the Bay of Islandson the schooner"Wave" on 12 June, arriving on 20 June. [cite book | last =Smith | first =Arthur R. | authorlink = | title =William Charles Cotton MA: Priest, Missionary and Bee Master | publisher =Countyvise | date =2006 | location =Birkenhead | pages =pp.56-65| isbn =978 1901231 81 X ]
Selwyn had decided to set up residence at the Waimate Mission Station, some convert|15|mi|km|0 inland from
Paihiawhere the Church Missionary Society had established a settlement 11 years earlier. Waimate was to be the Anglican ecclesiastical centre for the whole of New Zealand, and to that end Selwyn had planned for the training of ordinands; a school for Maori and missionary children; farming and agriculture; workshops for printing and carpentry, all with a view to becoming self-supporting, and all to be under the name of St John's College. It was to become a power house to fuel the spread of the Gospelthroughout New Zealand and the islands beyond. Bambridge spent his days in the schoolroom teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, drawing, singing and religious knowledge. His contributions to Cotton's journal testify to his beautiful copperplatehand writing and facility in drawing.
Like his father, Bambridge was a keen musician and a flautist of some competence; with other members of the party they entertained the missionaries with chamber music. Bambridge was also an accomplished artist and recorded the Mission buildings, occupants, scenery and activities by drawing and water colour.
In July 1842, Sophia gave birth to her first child, also called William Samuel with George Frederic being born in April 1844. [ [http://www.bambridge.org/php/TNG5/getperson.php?personID=I018&tree=BAMB01 Sophia Thorington at www.bambridge.org] ]
Later in 1844 Selwyn decided to move some convert|160|mi|km|0 south to Tamaki near
Aucklandwhere he bought acre to km2|450|abbr=yes of land, giving it the name of Bishop's Auckland. The party left on 23 Octoberand arrived in Auckland on 17 November. William and Sophia's third child, Sophia Esther, was born in August 1846 at Purewa. By now, Sophia was struggling with the rigours of life in the mission and was longing to return to England. Eventually, Selwyn was persuaded to release Bambridge from his contract and the family finally left New Zealand in December 1847, together with Cotton, arriving back in England in May 1848. [cite book | last =Smith | first = | authorlink = | title = | publisher =| date =| location = | pages = pp.155-161| isbn = ]
Shortly after arriving back in England, Bambridge joined the studio of
William Fox Talbotin the castle at Windsor. In 1854, he was appointed the Royal Photographer to Queen Victoria, remaining in the Queen's employment for 14 years. His subjects include not only members of the Royal family and their pets but also still life, scenes from the Royal hunts etc. Many of his photographs are now housed in the Royal Collection. Bambridge used the wet collodion process invented by Frederick Scott Archeron glass plate negatives.
One striking photograph in the collection is a portrait of
Hare Pomare, a Māorichief who was visiting Windsor shortly after the death of Prince Albert. During the visit, the chief's wife gave birth and Queen Victoria was godmotherat the christening of the child, named Albert Victor Pomare. Bambridge was called on to photograph the christening. [ [http://teaohou.natlib.govt.nz/journals/teaohou/issue/Mao24TeA/c43.html Queen Victoria had a Maori Godson] ] Hare Pomare was also to feature in the works of William Strutt. [ [http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an2260381 "Hare Pomare and his wife Hariata and infant son Albert Victor, and a chieftain who accompanied them to England, November, 1863" by William Strutt] ]
Bambridge died in
Wandsworth, Londonin May 1879 and is buried in Clewerchurchyard, along with his brother George, and his father. His death certificate states that he died from "Exhaustion and Paralysis".
William and Sophia had six children, of whom the latter three sons were all born at Windsor between 1849 and 1861. All the sons were keen footballers; the three younger sons all joined the local Swifts team from where they were selected to play for the England national team. The eldest of the three, Ernest, made only one appearance for his country whilst his younger brothers, Charles and Arthur played 18 and 3 times respectively for England. Charles was the first player to score ten international goals for England and was twice appointed England's captain.
The first born son, William Samuel became Professor of Music and Organist at
Marlborough Collegeand named his home in the town of Marlborough, "The Waimate". His only son, William Herbert Bambridge, died at Béthune, Francein the First World War.
The second son, George Frederic became Secretary to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. His son George Louis St Clair Bambridge married Elsie, daughter of
* [http://www.bambridge.org/php/TNG5/showhistory.php?personID=I001&tree=BAMB01&ordernum=0 William Bambridge (1819-1879): Schoolmaster — missionary — royal photographer — artist. By Ruth Etherington; Extract from Auckland Waikato Historical Journal no 41, September 1982]
* [http://www.bambridge.org/php/TNG5/getperson.php?personID=I001&tree=BAMB01 William Bambridge at www.bambridge.org]
* [http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/eGallery/maker.asp?maker=BAMBRIDGEW The works of William Bambridge in The Royal Collection]
* [http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~arfried/glassbib.shtml Article about the restoration of the photographs]
NAME = William Bambridge
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Missionary and photographer
DATE OF BIRTH =
19 March 1820
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH =
1 May 1879
PLACE OF DEATH =
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