Who is Leslie Durrell?

Leslie Stuart Durrell, the brother of author Gerald Durrell, is a mysterious figure whose fate is often pondered upon by readers. Gerald writes about Leslie in a captivating manner in his Corfu trilogy, sparking curiosity about what became of the adventurous brother who lovingly constructed a boat for young Gerry on the island of Corfu. While all the other Durrell siblings, including Margaret, shared details of their lives through writing, Leslie chose not to do so, shying away from the public eye. Lawrence, another sibling, is the only one to mention Leslie in his memoir titled “Prospero’s Cell,” while Margo, in her less renowned memoir called “Whatever Happened to Margo?,” references Leslie multiple times. Leslie’s absence from the literary spotlight and his siblings’ accounts adds to the intrigue surrounding his life.


Leslie Stuart Durrell was born on March 10, 1917, in Jalandhar, Punjab, India, and passed away on August 13, 1982, at the age of 65 in Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England. He was buried at the Bournemouth Crematorium and North Cemetery in Bournemouth, Dorset, England, with a memorial ID of 173849827.

Gerald Durrell’s portrayal of Leslie in the Corfu trilogy captivated readers, leaving them curious about Leslie’s life and what became of him. Unlike his siblings, including Margaret, Leslie never wrote about his life and actively avoided the public spotlight, making it likely that he would be surprised by the interest in his personal story.

Interestingly, Leslie is the only Durrell sibling mentioned by Lawrence in his Corfu memoir, “Prospero’s Cell,” while Margo references him numerous times in her own memoir, “Whatever Happened to Margo?,” which is comparatively less famous.

Born in 1918, Leslie was the second-eldest Durrell sibling. After the family relocated from India to England following their father’s death, Leslie attended an English school but did not find happiness there, much like his brothers. However, he felt a sense of belonging on the island of Corfu, where he enjoyed mingling with the locals, engaging in hunting, and socializing with the peasants.

When World War II broke out, Leslie returned to England with his mother, Gerald, Margaret, and the family’s Corfiot maid, Maria Kondos. The Durrells settled in Bournemouth, and Leslie attempted to enlist in the army but was rejected due to his health condition, which was a disappointment for him. Consequently, he worked in an RAF factory during the war.

During his time at home, Leslie had a brief romantic relationship with Maria Kondos, the family’s Greek maid who was ten years older than him. Simultaneously, he was dating Doris Hall, the young manageress of an off-licence store where his mother purchased gin. In September 1945, Maria gave birth to Leslie’s son, Anthony, but Leslie showed no interest in the child. This decision deeply affected Anthony Kondos, who grew up without any knowledge of his father. Anthony expressed regret over not knowing his father and harbored animosity towards him and the rest of the family for many years. However, he eventually felt sadness for not being part of the Durrell family and held a sense of pride in being a Durrell, despite not bearing the name.

Meanwhile, Leslie married Doris Hall in 1952, whom he had met at the off-licence store, and the couple relocated to Kenya to manage a hunting reserve. Lawrence, too, distanced himself from Leslie, as his wife refused him entry when Leslie once went to visit his brother, fearing that he wanted to borrow money.

In 1968, Leslie and Doris returned to England from Africa with no money and took on caretaker roles at a block of flats near Marble Arch. When Leslie passed away in 1983 at the age of 65 while drinking at a pub in Notting Hill, none of his siblings had reestablished contact with him, and none attended his funeral.

Although Margo’s life was also far from glamorous, she remained close to Leslie. She married twice, first to Gerry Breeze, a pilot with whom she traveled around Africa and had two sons, and later to a trombonist named Max Duncan. Margo used her modest inheritance to open a boarding house in Bournemouth, where she encountered various lodgers who left a mark on her life. She resided in Bournemouth until her death at the age of 87 in 2007.

Leslie, in addition to his adventurous spirit, possessed artistic talent as a painter. Margo vividly describes him in her memoir as a robust figure engrossed in the world of oils on canvas, as well as being deeply involved in guns, boats, beer, and women.

Margo also portrays Leslie as having a hint of entrepreneurship, attempting various business ventures, though luck seemed to elude him. When Leslie came of age and received his inheritance, he invested it in a boat business, using all his funds to purchase a fishing boat. Unfortunately, the boat sank before its maiden voyage out of Poole Harbour, according to Margo’s account.

Margo and Leslie shared a close bond, and she fondly recalls their childhood escapades in her memoir. Leslie’s generosity as a brother is exemplified by a particular incident where he rescued a puppy from being euthanized and brought it to live with Margo.

Leslie’s life took several twists and turns, from his experiences in Corfu to his failed businesses and tumultuous personal relationships. Despite the lack of information about his later years and the absence of contact with his siblings, Leslie’s presence continues to captivate those who have read about him in the writings of Gerald, Lawrence, and Margo Durrell.


Intro Second eldest brother of the Durrell family
Was Entrepreneur
From United Kingdom
Field Business
Gender Male
Birth 1918, Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Death 1983, London, England (aged 65 years)
Family Siblings:Gerald Durrell

What Happened to Leslie Durrell?

After his adventures in Corfu depicted in Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy, Leslie Durrell’s life took various turns. Here is an overview of what happened to Leslie:

Marriage and Move to Kenya: In 1952, Leslie married Doris Maire Hall, a woman from Bournemouth whose family owned an off-license. The couple embarked on a new chapter of their lives, leaving England to start a farm in Kenya. Unfortunately, their venture in Kenya did not succeed, and they were forced to return to England in 1968.

Work in London: Upon their return, Leslie found employment as a concierge in a prestigious hotel near Marble Arch in London. Despite the setbacks and changes in his life, Leslie remained married to Doris, whom Gerald describes as “big-hearted, big-voiced, laughing,” indicating a happy and supportive relationship.

Passing and Funeral: Tragically, Leslie’s life came to an end in 1983 when he passed away from heart failure while at a pub in Notting Hill. It is unfortunate that none of Leslie’s siblings attended his funeral, highlighting a sense of estrangement or lack of connection between them.

The details of Leslie’s later years are relatively limited, and his siblings’ accounts of their lives offer only glimpses into his experiences. Nonetheless, Leslie’s story showcases a mix of adventures, challenges, and ultimately, a life that touched those around him in unique ways.

Why did none of leslie durrell siblings attend his funeral?

The exact reasons why none of Leslie Durrell’s siblings attended his funeral are not explicitly stated in the available information. However, it can be speculated that various factors might have contributed to this situation.

Firstly, the Durrell siblings had led separate lives and pursued their own paths. They had experienced geographical distances and had differing interests and commitments. These factors could have made it difficult for them to be present at the time of Leslie’s funeral.

Secondly, there may have been personal dynamics or strained relationships among the siblings that influenced their decision not to attend. Family dynamics can be complex, and individual relationships within a family can be affected by a range of factors, including disagreements, misunderstandings, or emotional distance.

It’s important to note that the available information may not provide a complete understanding of the relationships between the siblings and the specific circumstances surrounding Leslie’s funeral. Speculation aside, the absence of Leslie’s siblings at his funeral reflects a sense of disconnection or lack of involvement in his life during his later years.