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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Boy Saved from Tiger
This statue depicts the boy saved by Charles Jamrach.
Location: Tobacco Dock, Wapping, London
Description: There is a fine sculpture here in the Tobacco Dock (By entrance at bottom of stairs by Porters Walk) that is the figure of a boy standing, hands held down by his sides, leaning slightly backwards, looking up in awe at a large, seated tiger. They depict a small boy's encounter with a tiger escaped from Jamrach's Emporium.
Charles Jamrach was an importer and dealer in wild animals with his shop very close to this spot. Of German origin, he was born in Memel in 1815. He inherited the business from his father, who was an animal dealer in Antwerp and London. He died on 6 September 1891.
His unique shop sold not only the most varied collection of curiosities but also traded in wild animals such as alligators, tigers, elephants, monkeys and birds. Jamrach's was known to seafarers throughout the world - who, when their ship docked in London, would bring artefacts from distant lands in the knowledge that Mr. Jamrach would be a willing purchaser.
The true story goes that a full grown Bengal tiger, having just arrived at Jamrach's Emporium, burst open his wooden transit box and quietly trotted down the road. Everybody scattered except an eight year old boy, who, having never seen such a large cat, went up to it with the intent of stroking its nose. A tap of the great soft paw stunned the boy and, picking him up by his jacket, the tiger walked down a side alley. Mr. Jamrach, having discovered the empty box, came running up and, thrusting his bare hands into the tiger's throat, forced the beast to let his captive go. The little boy was unscathed and the subdued tiger was led back to his cage.
The animals were housed in iron cages and were well looked after until they were bought by zoological institutes and naturalist collectors.