When the Durrells and their menagerie lived on our top floor | Letter

Sara Holdsworth recalls the time her parents rented a flat to Gerald and Jacquie Durrell






The naturalist Gerald Durrell with a lemur at Jersey Zoo (now the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust).
Photograph: Alamy

As a footnote to your article (Gerald Durrell honoured with blue plaque at childhood home in London, 18 September), my parents rented the flat on the top floor of their house in Holden Road, North Finchley, to Gerald and Jacquie Durrell in 1955-56. The number and exoticism of the animals they brought with them had been airily glossed over when they arranged the let. I was a baby at the time, and my mother was convinced that one of the snakes or monkeys would climb down a drainpipe and snatch me from my pram. However, before this could happen the Durrells left suddenly, taking their menagerie but leaving a strange assortment of clothes (including a pair of snakeskin high heels) which provided me with dressing-up gear for many years.

Sara Holdsworth

Oxford