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Durrells

“My childhood in Corfu shaped my life. If I had the craft of Merlin, I would give every child the gift of my childhood.” - Gerald Durrell

We love

The Durrells’ descriptions of Kalami Bay and Corfu have captured the hearts and the imaginations of many visitors, giving a special identity to this part of Corfu – an island Gerald Durrell referred to throughout his life as “paradise”.

Durrell Tours

A white house set like a dice on a rock already venerable with the scars of wind and water.

The History

The White House in Kalami is best known as the former residence of British author, Lawrence Durrell. Lawrence lived here in the 1930’s with his wife, Nancy. Their Kalami home, was regularly visited by his family including, a young Gerald Durrell who later became a leading conservationist and popular author. The White House has been owned by the Atheneos family for generations and we are proud of our close personal relationship with the Durrells. Our family will look after you too, on own your memorable holiday experience.

Early years at The White House

1900-1914

The story of The White House begins in the Corfu of the 1900’s. Corfu, or Kerkyra, is one of the 7 Ionian Islands. It is a beautiful green island with a history of battles and conquests. Occupied in the past by the Venetians, French and British, Corfu gained independence from the British in 1864 and united with Greece some 5 years later. At this time, life was hard for ordinary people. For women, manual labour on the land, in the olive groves and in the home was the expected way of life. For men, work was hard too. Whether working as a fisherman, in the olive groves or in the bustling port in Corfu Town, days were long and hard and wages were poor. Only the lucky few were able to enter the convent and train to be a priest, though even this was not a prosperous profession. As a consequence, many ordinary people lived simple peasant lives – either farming or fishing in order to feed their families.

The Durrell years

1936-1939

After some months on Corfu, Larry and Nancy were keen to live in a wilder, more romantic part of the island and they fell in love with the rugged North East coastline. In the spring of 1936, Spiros Amerikanos helped them to find a home in Kalami Bay. That home was the White House, rented to them by Tassos and Eleni. Larry and Nancy lived in two of the rooms in the house and the Atheneos family lived in the third. The two families shared the kitchen and dining room. Tassos and Eleni were described as dark, good-looking and quiet by Nancy. Eleni wore the traditional dress of the north of the island with long dark skirts, white blouses, a jerkin and a headscarf. They had two daughters, Frosso who was 7 years old and Tihouli who was younger. The birth of a happy healthy boy in 1937, Giorgos, caused much delight in the family. Lawrence was given the honour of being his Godfather.