Some might say Wallace the Lion is already a local celebrity in his own right, but now the much-loved Sunderland attraction has been seen by tens of thousands of people in a new Oasis video.
To mark the 23rd anniversary of their album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory, Oasis released a new lyric video for track She’s Electric.
It features a series of quirky, psychedelic images as the band work through the fan favourite track on the video, which was released on the band’s official YouTube channel on October 1.
Around 30 seconds into the track Wallace appears in a black and white photograph which flashes up during the line “she’s in a family full of eccentrics.”
It’s unclear why that particular image was chosen for the video, which has already been viewed by more than 75,000 people a day after its release, but Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens have confirmed it’s one of their images from their collection.
Jo Cunningham, exhibitions, collections and archives manager, said: “It actually shows children from a local blind school using Wallace as part of their education. The curator here at the time (1913), Charlton Deas, was a pioneer in using museum collections to help educate blind and visually impaired people.”
She added: “I don’t know why it’s been used as there’s no connection to Sunderland as far as I’m aware. It’s just a quirky photograph which they have found on the internet I guess.”
Aside from appearing in top band’s videos, Wallace can be seen on the ground floor of Sunderland Museum where he’s one of their most popular exhibits.
He was bought by the museum in 1879 and has since been seen by generations of Wearsiders.
Part of a travelling circus, Wallace outlived his trainer and eventually died in 1875 in Warrington. He was then stuffed by South Shields taxidermist, William Yellowby, before being purchased by the Sunderland Museum where he has been displayed ever since.
It wasn’t the lion’s first trip to Sunderland. He appeared alongside trainer Maccomo during a visit to the then town in 1869. During the show Wallace ignored the whip, sprang and pinned his trainer against the side of the cage.
Maccomo was badly mauled before Wallace was eventually beaten off. The trainer eventually recovered and, amazingly, Wallace was retained in the act. Maccomo returned to Sunderland and, on January 11, 1871, while staying at the Palatine Hotel (just next door to the museum) he died from rheumatic fever.
He was buried in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery and was obviously well thought of by his employer, William Manners, who arranged for the erection of Maccomo’s gravestone. Today this can be seen in the Commonwealth Graves Section of the cemetery.
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