Lots been happening in 2019

Hello everyone.

Thanks for you continued support.

We have been busy behind the scenes and also attending events.

The Heritage Trail booklet is not quite ready for publication. Maybe this was lucky as one of the locations on the trail has ceased trading recently. The Forest Tavern on Mansfield Road opened in around 1832 and is where Bendigo reportedly trained before his fights. Unfortunately it has recently closed its doors. Hopefully it will re-open quickly and who knows, the owners may want to take advantage of its Bendigo status. Even the BBC Flog It program recorded an episode there.

We have been doing more presentations to various groups. The next one is for Age Concern in Nottingham where we will reminisce about peoples memories of Nottingham and what Bendigo means to them guests. If you have a group that would like to book us to talk about Bendigo, get in touch.

Our next Memorial Walk will be on Sunday 18th August. This event will be an annual walk from Beeston to Bath Street, following the route of his funeral in August 1880.

Keep spreading the word about our cause.

One day we will bring him home

Best wishes Alan and Ryan

The Forest Tavern
195 Mansfield Road
Nottingham

 

Bendigo Heritage

Bendigo Memorial Fund is working across a number of areas to raise the awareness of the man who has so much to offer Nottingham and its heritage. We would like to highlight these areas and the people who have helped us.

Boxing will always be at the heart of the campaign. After all it was through prize-fighting that Bendigo made his reputation. We have established good connections with the boxing community, and we have made some friends along the way.

Marcellus Baz BEM has been supporting us from the start. He runs the Nottingham School of Boxing and other organisations that seek to support young people by giving them opportunities through the discipline and team work that boxing brings. Through him we have established links with national and local boxers. In January we took part in a fundraising skipathon to support local boxing legend Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham through a period of illness.

Jake Meskell is a local television producer with Notts TV. Jake has shown a particular interest in boxing and martial arts. So much so that he produces a boxing show for Notts TV called Fight Night.

Peter Radford is an aspiring actor and works in the tourism area as Little John, the famous character linked to Robin Hood. Peter is also a boxer within the Bare Knuckle Boxing community.

Alan Dance is a historian and author, specialising in the 19th century. He has written a novel about Bendigo  together with David Field. Alan has supplied us with several copies of the Bendigo – Right Fist of God, which we sell at events, the proceeds going to the fund.

Andrew Edwards is a renowned sculptor who has supported us from the start. He is based in Liverpool and heard about us through his interest in the sport of boxing. Andrew has created a small prototype statue (maquette) of Bendigo at no cost. This maquette has been on the road with us and always draws attention.

Andrew Edwards presents the maquette to us.

We have also been invited to join a group called Nottingham Heritage Professionals. We hope that our involvement with this group will help us in getting the most out of the Bendigo Story and in ways to raise funds. We will soon be meeting with one of this group, Rehannah Mian a historian and author who has produced a guide to Nottingham. Hopefully this will help us to put Bendigo on the map and in a heritage booklet of his own.

Thanks for reading

Alan and Ryan

 

Making Progress

This year we have made good progress. We have been holding events of our own such as the Sponsored Walk and an event at the former Bendigo Public House in Nottingham.

Local and national boxing promoters have also invited us along to their shows. It is pleasing that many people in the boxing world know already knew about Bendigo’s importance to the sport.

We have also done presentations to various local history groups who are always interested in our campaign, aswell as speaking to teachers with a view to prepare a teaching pack so that schools can tell the story of Bendigo to future generations.

We have also been developing a Heritage Trail so that future visitors to Nottingham will be able to discover the Bendigo story.

The Heritage Trail will be titled Ten Bells For Bendigo, in recognition of the boxing custom of ringing the bell ten times when the sport mourns the passing of someone.

Ten Bells For Bendigo will focus on ten locations that are important to the Bendigo story.

We will publish more about this in the near future.

Thanks for your continued support and get in touch if you want to hold an event.

Trinity Square Nottingham in 1853. The Mechanics Institute where Bendigo attended in 1872 is the central building. All were demolished in the 1960s.

 

 

Bendigo Community Event – 14th July

With thanks to the Sneinton Festival Events committee, we are pleased to announce this family friendly event to celebrate Bendigo at the former Bendigo Pub in Sneinton, Nottingham

The pub is currently closed but the iconic concrete statue of Bendigo still stands above the entrance.

This is a community get together with a 1950s theme, to acknowledge the pub’s opening in 1957.

Music from the 1950s and a free buffet will be provided.

The former Bendigo Public House is certainly the most well-known of Nottingham’s landmarks that celebrate Bendigo. The pub was built and opened in 1957, replacing a nearby pub called The Wrestlers Arms. The reason for naming the pub after Bendigo is unclear, although he had been entered into The Boxing Hall of Fame (UK) two years earlier. This may have brought his name back into public consciousness, almost 80 years since his death.

It was run by Nottingham’s Home Ales Brewery and is situated at the end of Meadow Lane, a short walk to the home of Notts County Football Club.

We hope that Nottinghamians join us and bring their relatives who remember this famous pub during its heyday in the 1950s and 60s.

The event will be on the paved area on Hermitage Square between the pub and Sneinton Hermitage Community Centre

 

Bendigo Walk – Beeston to Bath Street

The walkers are seen on their way by the Mayor of Broxtowe, Cllr Halimah Khaled MBE

Walk for Bendigo 03.05.18

Sponsored Walk in Memory of Bendigo

On Sunday 29th April 2018, a group of supporters will walk the route of Bendigo’s funeral cortege in 1880.

This will be from his home at Wollaton Road in Beeston to his grave at Bath Street in the City Centre, a distance of 5.7 miles. The walk will take approximately 2 hours and will be limited to twenty one people representing his 21 fights.

The group will meet at the Bendigo Lounge  on the High Road, where the general manager has kindly invited them in for refreshments before they set off

The walk will officially start from the site of his cottage at 1100hrs and take Wollaton Road to Bramcote Hills, then Derby Road into the city centre via Lenton Abbey, Dunkirk, Lenton, and Canning Circus. The final route will be through The Old Market Square and on to St Mary Rest Garden on Bath Street. They will gather at the graveside where the moment will be commemorated with a reading about the funeral taken from the novel of his life Bendigo – The Right Fist of God.

All are welcome to join the group at St Mary’s Rest Garden from around 1300hrs.

Bendigo’s Grave at St Marys Rest Garden

Each of the walkers will raise individual sponsorship. Anyone wishing to donate directly to the fund can do so via the link on our website.

Andrew Edwards, the renowned sculptor who created a maquette of Bendigo is unable to do the walk, as he is in New York that weekend. He sent this reply:

A gallery in Manhattan is promising to show my scale model of my new Beatles statues so I can’t refuse being there – I’d rather be in Nottingham though, honestly. In fact if I could pick any job to be working on now anywhere in the world, it would be Bendigo’s statue.

Andrew Edwards presents the maquette to Trustee Alan Dawson.

Trinity Square Needs a Figure Head

Bendigo Memorial Fund is now 18 months old and we are making good progress and lots of friends around the world. Closer to home, Nottingham City Council have approved Trinity Square as the location for Bendigo’s statue.

The Bendigo story centres on this location. Not only was he born here but many significant events in his life happened within a few yards of Trinity Square. Sadly, most of the buildings are gone, several being demolished and redeveloped in the last 60 years.

This makes us more determined to put things right and make the location a permanent reminder to Bendigo.

Trinity Square has always been a popular location for visitors to Nottingham.

In the 19th century it was home to The Mechanics Hall and the Holy Trinity Church. The Mechanics’ Institution was a national movement for artisans, or mechanics, as they were then called. Many of these artisans were illiterate, and the founder wanted to provide them with a means of improving their knowledge by classes and lectures, by good libraries, music, drama and readings, and by social contacts with a good cross-section of the better-educated section of the community. The original Mechanics Institute stood at the junction of Milton Street, Burton Street and Trinity Square, opposite the Victoria Hotel next to the Railway Station. The Mechanics Institute comprised of a large hall (33m long, 18m wide and 12m high) and a members refreshment room. The hall later became a cinema and was called Mechanics Pictures.

Holy Trinity Church was designed by Henry Isaac Stevens and built in 1841. It was an example of Victorian High Gothic architecture and for many years it had a tall spire which was eventually removed.

In 1953, the council proposed to demolish Holy Trinity Church. The locals were incensed and 16000 people signed a petition against the proposal, however demolition went ahead in 1957.

In 1964 the Mechanics’ Institution decided to redevelop the building on the same site. The stone façade of the 1845 building was exported to the United States of America by an American, who erected as his Californian hunting lodge.

Trinity Square was redeveloped in the 1960s, when multi storey car parks and offices replaced the iconic buildings. These dark and austere looking buildings barely lasted 50 years.

Trinity Square was transformed into a public space again in 2009, with further improvements being made to the seating areas. It now compliments the leisure and retail at The Cornerhouse, which replaced the Nottingham Evening Post offices after they relocated in 1998.

Despite all the recent developments, there are still a few smaller and older buildings, most on the narrow lanes of Trinity Walk and that lead down towards the Old Market Square

Trinity Square remains a well-known part of Nottingham City Centre. All it needs now is a figurehead, and the return of William ‘Bendigo Thompson.