[ilds] "Can you help Gerald Durrell's family document his life?" (Bournemouth Echo)

Charles Sligh charles-sligh at utc.edu
Tue Oct 23 16:00:34 PDT 2012


Can you help Gerald Durrell's family document his life? 
<http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9998565.print/>
11:00am Monday 22nd October 2012
By Faith Eckersall

HIS BOOK 'My Family And Other Animals' is one of the best-loved in the 
English language, a classic describing the hilarious antics of his 
siblings as they enjoyed a four-year sojourn on the Greek island of Corfu.

But it was from Bournemouth that zoo-keeper, naturalist and author 
Gerald Durrell first set out on his life's adventures, after his eldest 
brother, Lawrence, demand the family quit the 'sharp, stinging drizzle' 
and 'froth-chained sea' one grim August day in 1935.

And it was to this town, and the Daily Echo's offices, that his widow, 
Lee, returned on Friday with Gerald's nephew, Gerry Breeze, to research 
her husband's links to the area for a new exhibition about him to be 
unveiled at his wildlife conservation trust and zoo in Jersey.

"At the main park we have just had our 50th anniversary and it's high 
time we actually tell Gerald Durrell's story," she said. "There's lots 
of archive material and there's stuff in offices all over the place but 
we are pulling it all together to make a permanent exhibition, in the 
Trust's grounds."

Lee and Gerry Breeze were especially interested in old Daily Echo news 
cuttings which detailed Gerald's attempts to get the town of 
Bournemouth, and then Poole, to allow him to open a zoo.

"He was all set to go with Upton House but it fell through," said Lee.

The cuttings reveal how strong the Durrell family connection is to 
Bournemouth; they returned to the town after their Greek adventure and 
later his sister, Margo, opened a boarding house in Charminster's St 
Alban's Avenue which was where Gerald kept his animal collection in the 
garage and where he wrote his best-seller in six weeks, sitting on one 
of the beds.

He also kept a small menagerie in the basement of the J J Allen 
department store and was in the Echo again when a number of his monkeys 
escaped, some making it as far away as The Crescent in Boscombe.

Gerry Breeze, who helped Gerald during that time, said: "Every day was 
an adventure."

*If you have any memories or memorabilia of Gerald Durrell in 
Bournemouth, please contact faith.eckersall at bournemouthecho.co.uk



-- 
********************************************
Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu
********************************************

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