The Illovo Chronicles: A History of Illovo and the Pearce Family

This lavishly illustrated, privately published, coffee-table volume was the initiative of Warren Taylor of Kent in England. Having read my book, Sugar and Settlers, on the history of the Natal South Coast, he asked me to research and to contribute various chapters.

Since the Illovo Sugar Company was central to the research, I was very fortunate to be given free access to the records of the Executive meetings that took place from 1906. They provided insight to the relations between the board members which included some of the biggest names, then, in the sugar industry – Frank Reynolds, the Crookes Brothers and CG Smith. In all, I contributed six of the 17 chapters of the Chronicles.

The initiative and enterprise of William Pearce and his sons in establishing the formidable Illovo Sugar Company is another proud chapter in the history of Natal’s industrial structure. But like so much of what South Africans achieved, in 2016 Illovo was taken over by a British consortium.


  • Posted 11 June 2023 8:58 pm

    My Grandmother was Gladys Pearce born 1900 . Would love to know more of her family history.

    • Peter Sargent Posted 8 October 2023 6:50 pm

      Hi Lynne,
      Your grandmother Gladys was my grandmother Florence Pearce’s sister. They were daughters of John Pearce who married Lillian Donnelly. Their father John was the brother William Pearce who founded Illovo Sugar.
      My gran married Archibald McIntyre (my grandfather) they had two daughters Meryl, my mom, and Jean.
      If you want more on the family I have quite a bit of info
      Peter Sargent

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