Margaret Durrell

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Margaret "Margo" Isabel Mabel Durrell (4 May 1920 — 16 January 2007) was the younger sister of novelist Lawrence Durrell, and elder sister of naturalist, author and TV presenter Gerald Durrell, whose Corfu Trilogy of novels — My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Godslampoons her character.

Born in British India, she was brought up in India, England and Corfu. In 1935, Margo accompanied her mother, Gerald and Leslie to Corfu, following her eldest brother, Lawrence, who had moved there with his first wife, Nancy Myers. By 1939, when her mother returned to England with Gerald and Leslie following the outbreak of World War II, Margo decided her real home was on Corfu and remained on the island, sharing a peasant cottage with some local friends. Later the same year she met a British Royal Air Force pilot, Jack Breeze, who was stationed on the island. He convinced her of the dangers of staying on Corfu and the couple travelled together to South Africa, marrying in 1940. Margo lived with Breeze in South Africa for the remainder of the war. When it ended, they moved to Bournemouth. Margo and Jack Breeze had two children, Gerry and Nicholas.

After divorcing her husband, Margo purchased a large property across the street from her mother's house in Bournemouth and turned it into a boarding house. Gerald Durrell's core collection for his zoo (now the Durrell Wildlife Park) was initially housed in the back garden and garage on the premises. Later, Margo had a short-lived marriage with a musician named Malcolm "Mac" Duncan.

Still enamoured with Greece, Margo applied for a job on a Greek cruise ship travelling to the Caribbean that she saw advertised in a newspaper.[1] Her one published book, Whatever Happened to Margo?, is a humorous autobiographical account of her experiences as a Bournemouth landlady in the late 1940s, and included details about the lives of her family, particularly Leslie, Gerald and Louisa Durrell following their time on Corfu. Apparently written in the 1960s, the manuscript was discovered in the attic by a granddaughter nearly 40 years later and published in 1995.[2]

Margaret died aged 86 on 16 January 2007. [3]




  1. ^ Margaret Durrell Remembers, in Lawrence Durrell and the Greek World, edited by Anna Lilios
  2. ^ Robin Balke, Paperback reviews, The Independent, 13 October 1996
  3. ^ "Durrell death marks the end of an era". Jersey Evening Post. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2017.