Bendigo Exhibition

Exhibition To Celebrate ‘Bendigo’

The Bendigo Heritage Project has teamed up with Cafe Sobar on Friar Lane to exhibit a number of images and artwork that promote the importance of Bendigo to the City of Nottingham. 

Visitors to Cafe Sobar can now see a variety of items collated by the project since they formed in 2016. There are photographs, some pieces of modern art and memorabilia. It is hoped that the display will stimulate interest in the story of Nottingham’s first sporting superstar.

It will also highlight the work of Café Sobar as an innovative alcohol-free cafe and social space in Nottingham city centre.

William Thompson (known as ‘Bendigo’) was a 19th century boxer who fought 21 times between 1831 and 1850. He went on to become the undefeated Champion of England and is credited with introducing the ‘southpaw’ boxing stance. 

Shortly after his retirement, his mother died and Bendigo developed a problem with alcohol. This led to a number of arrests, behaviour that tarnished his reputation for a number of years.                                                                                                                         

His life had to change and the moment came when he attended The Mechanics Institute to hear a talk by a preacher named Richard Weaver. Bendigo joined Weaver’s revivalist church and he also preached the sermon to congregations up and down the country. His conversion was written about in various publications, including a well known poem titled Bendigo’s Sermon by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.   

Alan Dawson, trustee of the Bendigo Heritage Project said: 

We are keen for the public to see the items that we have collated, and Cafe Sobar is an ideal venue. It is a supportive network that gets people back into a positive lifestyle, something that wouldn’t have been available to Bendigo. Our gallery of items is not extensive but there is a variety of Bendigo related imagery to get people’s attention.  

Alan Dawson

Jason Loftus, the general manager at Cafe Sobar said: 

“Café Sobar and its parent charity Double Impact are honoured and excited to be in partnership with the amazing Bendigo Heritage Project. There are so many parallels with the life of this Nottingham legend and our own social mission. This partnership is the perfect fit for us to spread the legend of Bendigo and the transformative message he shared even further.”

Jason Loftus

A preview evening was held to allow supporters of the project to see these previously unseen items.

The free exhibition will run from Saturday 3rd February to the 1st April. It will be accessible during normal opening times at Cafe Sobar.