About Sydenham, Sparks and Sherwood - The historical connection

Sparks Estate in my memory has always been an area of Durban I knew a bit about but then not that well enough if you get my drift. Reading the Sparks family history it would seem that the original Sparks Estate stretched from the back of the ridge towards the area today bounded by Jan Smuts Ave, 45th Cutting and Sherwood. It also included the present day Sydenham and the adjoining area heading down to the Umgeni known as Springfield.




In January, 1850, David Sparks arrived at Port Natal in the good ship Ballengeich, after a voyage that had lasted the traditional three to four months. He was then about 20 years old, very energetic, and determined to make his way in the new country. It was not long before he got to work. The pay was small but food was cheap and he managed very well.

The wreck of the Minerva had an important part in his life. Among the passengers were Mr Thomas Walsh, Mr and Mrs William Walsh, and their sister, Miss Walsh, a pretty delicate girl, who had been sent on the voyage for her. health. She was t6 remain a year in Natal and then return home to Stockport, near Manchester, where her father was a medical man.

But young David Sparks and pretty Miss Elizabeth Walsh met and she did not go back to England, but founded one of Natal’s best-known families when she and David were married. Archdeacon Lloyd married them and as there was no wedding ring to be bought in the tiny town, Mrs Lloyd lent her ring. The wedding ring was a much married one, as it had been used for the same purpose many times until a jeweller or merchant decided there would be profit in stocking the like golden symbols of eternity.

Young Mr and Mrs David Sparks settled in the area now known as Sydenham. A portion of Brickfields Estate had been bought by him from Joseph Cato, and here two wattle and daub rondawels were built with the kitchen – a-lean-to-shelter – 10 or 12 yards away. Often at night Mrs Sparks was unable to get to the kitchen through leopards prowling around hungrily looking for tasty morsel of dog, cat or hen. The country was wild and heavy forests covered the Berea ridges through which wound a narrow track down to the township and the point.


Click here to read more about our amazing history



Historical Maps of the Area


MAP DURBAN RACIAL SETTLEMENT 1951This map of the racial settlements in and around Durban, shows Reservoir Hills, Sydenham, Westville, Cato Manor and Springfield earmarked for White occupation. This was the recommendation of the technical sub-committee for racial division of people in 1951 arising out of the enactment of the Group Areas Act (1950).  (Click on Map to View)    MAP DURBAN RACIAL REZONING 1952In this 9 May1952 Race Zone Plan, arising from the enactment of the Group Areas Act in 1950, Reservoir Hills and Sydenham were earmarked for Indian settlement. This also paved the way for the advent of Sparks Estate and Asherville and the continued development of Springtown. Sea View, Chesterville, Cato Manor and the entire Ridge were identified for White settlement.  (Click on Map to View)


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Suburbs Durban (Pty)Ltd, Durban, Sydenham, Sherwood, Sparks Eastate, Asherville, Springfield, Brickfield, Springtown

Suburbs Durban (Pty)Ltd, Durban, Sydenham, Sherwood, Sparks Eastate, Asherville, Springfield, Brickfield, Springtown
Suburbs Durban (Pty)Ltd, Durban, Sydenham, Sherwood, Sparks Eastate, Asherville, Springfield, Brickfield, Springtown