Francis Farewell Square – Look into Durban’s Past

Francis Farewell Square situated in the nucleus of Durban is the very location from whence the city came. Around the square are a number of important buildings and monuments providing insight into the history of this now bustling city. Take a walk back in time at Durban's Francis Farewell Square.

At the start of the 19th century, in 1824, a small settlement was established at the site where Francis Farewell Square is today. A small population of hunters and itinerant traders set up homes here. The square is named in honor of Henry Francis Flynn, one of the settlement’s leading residents. Adjoining the Francis Farewell Square is the Durban City Hall as well as the Old Court House. The City Hall dates back to 1910 and was designed by Stanley Hudson to resemble the Ireland’s Belfast City Hall. It actually started functioning as the city’s first Town Hall back in 1885. At the building’s eastern steps you will find a plaque in commemoration of Sir Winston Churchill’s 1899 speech, at which time he was still a war correspondent. Located in the City Hall is the impressive Natural Science Museum as well as the exquisite Durban Art Gallery. Visitors to Francis Farewell Square on Wednesdays can enjoy a number of dance and musical performances on the steps of City Hall. Beside City Hall is the Old Court House which is now home to Durban’s local history museum.

Visitors to Francis Farewell Square can also stop past the various monuments. The cenotaph is South Africa’s largest monument. It is a massive design depicting a soldier’s soul leaving his body, carried by two stunning angels. Other monuments include those dedicated to Queen Victoria, Louis Botha and Field Marshal. Another statue is designed with scenes of the Boer War at Ladysmith. Also look out for Durban’s monument at the location of the 1842 siege Voortrekker camp and one commemorating the Boer women and children of the Jacobs concentration camp.

Francis Farewell Square truly guides you through the history of Durban as well as the city’s cultural heritage in the form of art and performance. If you are visiting Durban this vacation period, be sure to stop by the Francis Farewell Square.

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