Vlasto, Zarifi & Rodocanachi Families At Saltmarsh Castle 1911


An attempt to identify who's who among a vast quantity of C19th and C20th photographs (the majority of which have yet to be located and processed) while there are still people who remember what's what...

For further information on these individuals, see:

A Vlasto Family Genealogy

Migrations: The story of the Phanariot and Chiot Greeks

Vlasto Family Related Publications

The Massacres On Chios

The Chios Diaspora 1823-1999

Return to Who's Who Index

Vlasto Family Summer Gatherings
Saltmarsh Castle and the Seaside – 1911 & 1912

In 1911 Helen Vlasto (née Zarifi), who lived in London, hosted her annual summer house party at Saltmarsh Castle, England. The following year this took place at the seaside – probably for the benefit of her grandchildren. These month-long gatherings, in a succession of English country houses, continued until the outbreak of World War ll in 1939.

Houses as large as Saltmarsh were needed to accommodate an expanding family of relations from all over Europe, along with their servants, maids and nursery nurses.

This collection of approximately 90 photographs of gatherings at Saltmarsh (1911) and at the seaside (1912) suggests that the cosmopolitan Vlastos did not naturally adapt to notions of a traditionally Edwardian seaside holiday. The adults are second generation members of the Chios diaspora and their spirits are still rooted on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Until the outbreak of World War l, three years later, the young women were still destined to marry young male cousins whom they often met at such family gatherings, or at marriages and funerals throughout Europe.

The author's grandfather, Michel E. T. D. Vlasto, studying medicine at University College Hospital, (London) in 1911/12, was to be among the first to marry outside the Greek community, in 1919. The young children shown here grew up surrounded by conversations – even sentences – which could begin in English continue in French and end in Greek. They became members of the first generation of 'cosmopolitan' citizens of Europe, unconcerned with concepts of nationalism. This may explain why many of the adults and children shown here were to prominent rôles in the fight against fascism in World War ll.

Saltmarsh Castle, England, 1911

Vlasto family guests leaving at the end of one of the long annual summer gatherings hosted by Helen Vlasto (né Zarifi).

Her husband Ernest-Michel Vlasto had died about 11 years earlier aged only 52. She quickly adopted the rôle of matriarch.

The car on the left is a 1908 Talbot. The car below is a 1911 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The brothers George and Athanasios Demetriadi ordered almost identical Ghosts with coachwork by Cockshoots of Manchester. It is unclear whose car this is.

The Seaside, England, 1912

Helen Vlasto (née Zarifi) is third from left. The infants are her grandchildren: Constantine 'Kostia' Rodocanachi (only son of her daughter Fanny Marie Nathalie Vlasto and her husband Dr George Rodocanachi); and Fanny Zarifi and her sister Helen Zarifi (the elder children of Marie Antoinette 'Netta' Zarifi (née Vlasto) and her husband Theodore Zarifi).

Among the other children in the following collection of photographs may be 3 year-old Constantine Demitriadi, his 2 year-old brother Alexander Demitriadi and 15 year-old Stéphane Zarifi – killed at the outbreak of WW2, as a Lieutenant in the 167th R.A.P. at Guillaumes, Alpes Maritime, France, on 3 Sep 1939.

Others include Helen Vlasto's sister Calliope 'Opie' Ionides (née Zarifi) and her husband Alexander 'Alec' Ionides (with their children and grandchildren). Some remain unidentified.

Three other elderly women in these pictures are, according to Fanny Charles-Roux (née Zarifi) in 1999:
Fanny Zarifi (née Kessissoglu ), Calliope Metaxa (née Vlasto) and a Miss/Mrs Cripps (related to Sir Stafford Cripps). Theodore Zarifi is among the adult males.

Far right: 1912 Fanny Marie Nathalie Zarifi (née Vlasto) is with her only child Constanine 'Kostia' Rodocanachi. Centre: is her sister Antoinette 'Netta' Zarifi (née Vlasto) holding her elder daughter, Fanny Zarifi (see: Charles-Roux, De Gaulle & The Free French in London 1942-43). Far left: Their cousin, Nellie Demitriadi (née Ionides) with her son Constantine Demitriadi.

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