Count Spiro Flamburiari
and the Corfu Heritage Foundation
Heritage is History and History is Heritage.
Both, in regard to Corfu, are complex and ancient.
In the relatively modern era, Corfu was under the occupation of Venice, Napoleonic France, Russia and under the Protection of the United Kingdom until its ceding to the then Kingdom of Greece in 1864. Whilst under the control of Venice, Corfu was attacked by the Turkish Empire with a view to annexation. This was defeated after several months of siege. A time of peace followed after union with Greece; although there was an attempted Fascist annexation, which was thwarted by the British and French fleets. In the Second World War, Corfu was occupied by the Axis Powers and suffered particularly badly once the Nazis took over the Island in 1943. With the end of the Second World War, a slow recovery took place.
This is the background and historical environment, which the Corfu Heritage Foundation was founded to address. Spiro Flamburiari was born in Corfu and lived through the living memory events referred to above and so he has a keen understanding of Corfu’s unique heritage. His whole life has been devoted to the promotion of the Island and its prosperity. So it was that he decided to found the said Foundation in order to preserve and protect the historical heritage of the Island of Corfu and, because of the significance of the British Protectorate of the Island, also to promote Anglo-Hellenic relations.
Accordingly, the Foundation came into being on the 6th of April 2000, and the first Founding Members were Spiro Flamburiari, Pericles Lascaris, Architect, and Yannis Petsalis, Historian and Art Collector.
The objects of the Corfu Heritage Foundation are: 1) to promote British-Hellenic relations; 2) to restore the buildings in the island deemed by the Trustees to be of historical importance; 3) to preserve historical monuments and the grand old estates; 4) to support the objects and endeavours of the Corfu Reading Society; 5) to support the Brass Bands of Corfu; 6) to establish and erect the Corfu Heritage Plaques concerning personalities and buildings of historical significance; 7) to curate permanent or temporary exhibitions of art; 8) to promote musical and artistic events; 9) to promote the game of Cricket; and 10) to carry out publications of all kind relevant to the Foundation.
Over the years Spiro’s involvement to promote the close relationship of the island of Corfu with the United Kingdom has become a passion. In his definitive book “Corfu – The Garden Isle”, he has devoted a number of chapters dealing with the British Protectorate.
Under his guidance, he has established the Greek equivalent of the British Blue Plaques. By this means, he has taken special care to display these Memorial Plaques with names of very important people associated with Corfu and the buildings of historical significance associated with them; amongst them you will find: HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, Edward Lear, The Earl of Guilford and many others.
Believing that Edward Lear could be the bridge uniting Corfu with Great Britain, he commissioned, with some friends, the acclaimed sculptor Margot Roulleau-Gallais to create a bronze bust of Edward Lear, which is now permanently displayed in the most prestigious literary institution of Greece, the Corfu Reading Society. In 2014 he co-founded, with Derek Johns, The Edward Lear Society (www.edwardlearsociety.org) to advance the knowledge and education and to preserve and protect all matters in connection with the heritage, writings, work and painting of Edward Lear. Since then, a number of lectures have taken place and amongst the speakers Nicholas Parsons performed his masterpiece “How pleasant to know Mr Lear”.
Spiro has been a regular presenter on Corfu’s two TV channels – Star TV and Corfu TV – as well as on BBC4 and The Evening Standard promoting the Britishness of the Island.
He is now involved with organising a series of events to celebrate in the year 2018 the Bicentenary of the creation in Corfu and Malta of the Order of St Michael and St George. He is proud that one of his ancestors, Dionysio, Count Flamburiari, was bestowed the Order in 1857. These festivities will be unique as they will honour the Order and at the same time will remind the Corfiots of their important heritage.
Spiro has been a great supporter of the English Literary Festival and the game of Cricket.
Trustees of the Corfu Heritage Foundation
- Count Spiro Flamburiari
- Sir Simon Orr-Ewing Bt
- Robert A. Christoforides Esq
- Mr Pericles C. Laskaris