took this name on reopening in 1999 after spending a period
of time dormant.
The pubs original name remembered one of Nottinghams
greatest sportsmen and characters, Bendigo. His statue still
stands on the corner of the pub in suitably pugilistic stance.
Thompson was born the last of 21 children in New Yard (now Trinity
Walk). He came into this world on 11th October 1811 one of triplets.
His fellow triplets were given the names Shadrach and Meshack.
died when he was 15 and after a stay in the Nottingham Workhouse,
he chiselled a living selling oysters around Nottinghams
He was extremely fit and excelled at running, somersaulting,
stone throwing, cricket, cock-fighting, badger baiting and fishing
but it was for boxing he gained fame. He took up prize fighting
at the age of 21.
famous fight was against the considerable talents of Ben Caunt,
a miner from Hucknall on 21st July 1835. He avoided all heavy
blows by quick footwork and generally annoyed both Ben and the
spectators with his antics and constant laughter.
won in the 23rd round. That bout was short when compared with
the 93rd round victory over William Looney at Chapel en le Frith.
fight occurred when Bendigo took on Deaf Burke, the Champion
of England. Deaf head-butted our hero twice in the tenth round
and the fight and championship were gifted to Bendigo.
He fought on until his fortieth year and retired to take up
the unofficial position of boxing coach at Oxford University.
He was unsuited to life amongst the scholars and soon made his
way back to Nottingham.
in with a collection of neer-do-wells and drunkards (Nottingham
Forest supporters?) and had 28 holidays in Nottinghams
House of Correction for being drunk and disorderly.
Nevertheless, he managed to save three people from drowning
in the River Trent when he was 59.
in 1872 Bendigo dropped into the Mechanics Institute and his
life was changed. He listened to the preaching of the converted
collier Richard Weaver and was invited onto the stage.
He was convinced of the error of his ways and joined the Edenezer
Lodge of Templars. He took up preaching and when his old cronies
interrupted him, he would either use his quick wit or set about
them with his fists.
died on 23rd August 1880 seven weeks after falling down the
stairs of his home in Beeston, Nottinghamshire.
His grave is marked by a stone in the Bath Street Garden (a
former burial ground in Nottingham) where it is the only memorial
not to have been moved.
Mark Andrew Pardoe