Jamrach's Menagerie borrows from a number of historical events and people including:
Charles Jamrach's father was chief of the Hamburg River Police, a position that enabled him to establish himself as a dealer in wild birds and animals. When his father died around 1840, Charles moved from Germany to take over the London branch of business. Before long he was one of London's leading importers, breeders, and exporters of animals with both a shop, Jamrach's Emporium, and a menagerie.
In 1857, a Bengal tiger escaped from the Emporium, carrying off a young boy. Jamrach saved the boy who seemed relatively uninjured, and offered £50 in compensation, but the boy's father sued for £300. The family ended up with £60, while the lawyers got £240 (as the French would say, plus ça change!) A recently erected statue by Tanya Russell commemorates the event. You'll find it near the entrance to Tobacco Dock, an early 19th century warehouse ...