Leslie Durrell

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Leslie Durrell

Birthdate: (65)
Birthplace: Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Death: 1983 (65)
London, City of London, Greater London, England (heart failure)
Immediate Family:

Son of Lawrence Samuel Durrell and Louisa Florence Emily Durrell
Husband of Doris Durrell
Father of Private
Brother of Lawrence Durrell; Margery Ruth Durrell; Margaret "Margo" Isabel Mabel Durrell and Gerald Malcolm Durrell, OBE

Managed by: Anne Brannen
Last Updated:

About Leslie Durrell

Whatever happened to Leslie Durrell. Gerald Durrell writes about Leslie in such a compelling way in the Corfu trilogy that it is impossible not to wonder what happened to the hunting, shooting and fishing mad brother who so kindly built young Gerry a boat on Corfu.

Although all the other three Durrell siblings – even Margaret – wrote about their lives, Leslie did not, and never sought the public spotlight and one can imagine he would be surprised at the interest in his life.

Leslie is actually the only Durrell sibling that Lawrence mentions in his Corfu memoir, Prospero’s Cell, and Margo mentions him many times in her own, considerably less famous memoir'

Born in 1918, Leslie was the second-eldest Durrell sibling. When the Durrells moved from India to England after the death of their father, Leslie went to an English school but was apparently not happy there (neither were his brothers). On Corfu, though, Leslie felt at home, drank with the local peasants and hunted local game. Leslie returned to England with his mother, Gerald, Margaret and the family’s Corfiot maid, Maria Kondos when the Second World War broke out. (Margaret, of course, soon afterwards went back ‘home’ to Corfu.) The Durrells settled in Bournemouth and Leslie tried to enlist in the army but was rejected on the grounds of ill-health, something that was a setback for him. Instead, he spent the war working in an RAF factory.

Shortly after the family returned to England, Leslie had a brief romance with the family’s Corfiot friend and live-in maid, Maria Kondos, that produced a son, Anthony. However, the romance was short-lived.Leslie also had the Durrell artistic streak – he was a painter. This is how Margo describes him in her memoir


Of the quartet of Durrell children, Leslie is the least known (he is the only one of the siblings who did not write about his life). His sister Margo describes him as generous; his brother Gerald describes him as boisterous, interested in hunting and fishing. Leslie, that squat, Rabelaisian figure lavishing oils on canvas or sunk deep in the intricacies of guns, boats, beer and women

Margo refers to Leslie as having “the hint of an entrepreneur”, and he certainly tried his hand several businesses, but had bad luck. When he came of age and received the inheritance his father left him, he used it to set up a boat business, spending all his money on a fishing boat that sadly sank before its maiden voyage out of Poole Harbour, accordintg to Margo.

In 1952, Leslie married his long-term girlfriend, Doris Hall, whose family ran an off-license in Bournemouth. Doris, “big-hearted, big-voiced, laughing”, was older than Leslie, and the relationship was a happy one. Soon after the couple married, they left England to start a new life in Kenya, where they wanted to run a farm. Sadly, though, that business did not work out and Leslie and Doris were forced to return to England in 1968.

Leslie got work in London as a concierge in a smart Marble Arch hotel. In 1983, he died of heart failure while in a Notting Hill pub. It is rather tragic that none of Leslie’s siblings attended his funeral. He and his wife Doris left England soon after their marriage in 1952, to farm in Kenya; that venture failed, and they went back to England in 1968, where Leslie worked as a concierge at a Marble Arch hotel.

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Attempted many projects which mostly failed. After his marriage to Doris the pair moved to Kenya to run a hunting reserve but this too failed. They ended up back in the UK working as caretakers for a block of flats in Marble Arch, London.

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Leslie Durrell's Timeline

1918
1918
Punjab, India
1983
1983
Age 65
City of London, Greater London, England