Way Out North West

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West company spent several weeks  in Salford in 1887 and the Manchester Museum has some very special, and unique, material relating to this occurance.

 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West show poster, 1899 (Not part of the Manchester Museum collection)

 

In pervious blog posts I’ve detailed this material (https://mancultural.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/the-return-of-red-shirt/) but if you’d like to find out more I’ll be giving a talk this Friday at 1pm in the Museum as part of the Manchester Histories Festival. Please do feel free to drop in but do be aware that space is limited so be punctual!

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures

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The Lost Salford Sioux

Several months ago now I had the good fortune to meet playwright Anjum Malik. Anjum was conducting research into the Native American performers who accompanied Buffalo Bill during their stay in Salford in the later 19th century. This research formed the basis of her play which was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to celebrate the opening of the BBC North’s new premises at Salford Quays in 2011. I was able to share with Anjum some of the wonderful archival material in the Living Cultures collection related to this historical event, specifically the portrait of Oglala Lakota Chief Red Shirt as taken by Salfordian photographer C.R. Brandis.

Red Shirt, Oglala Lokota Chief, Late 19th Century, Salford, UK. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2012.

Reverse of Red Shirt portrait showing Brandis stamp, Late 19th Century, Salford, UK. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2012.

Excitingly the completed play will be broadcast this coming Sunday at 20:30. Anjum has kindly acknowledged the support of the Museum on the BBC Radio 3 webpage, for more information please follow the link below:

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0195pz0

Do tune in!

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures

The Return of Red Shirt

The discovery of some archival material has caused somewhat of a  stir amongst local journalists recently (http://www.salfordonline.com/salfordvideos_page/25466-video:_salford_big_chief_found_in_manchester_museum.html). The material consists of a letter addressed to a Mr. Brode written on Buffalo Bill official stationery and a photograph of an  American Indian called Red Shirt.

The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2011

The letter is dated 1888 and was written by Buffalo Bill’s secretary S. Hanfield.  From November 1887 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West company was encamped on the banks of the River Irwell, Salford, Greater Manchester, and would remain there performing to crowds of local people for several months.

Red Shirt, Oglala Lokota Chief, Late 19th Century, Salford, UK. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2011.

Hanfield states in the letter that he also sent Brode a pair of moccasins  which were made at ‘Pine Ridge Indian Agency, Dakota, U.S.A.‘ and worn by Red Shirt during performances. Red Shirt was a Oglala Lakota American Indian and to this day his people live at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The photograph, taken by Salford photographer C.R. Brandis, is the only known image of Red Shirt taken during his time in Salford.

Moccasins, Late 19th Century, USA. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2011.

In 1928 Mr. Freston, chair of The Manchester Museum Committee at the time, donated a pair of moccasins which he claimed belonged to an ‘Indian Chief’. It is possible that these moccasins are the ones mentioned in the letter.

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures