Dagnabbit. I really wish someone would have, by this late stage in the day, have documented, and have readily available the history and minutiae of the Sparrow tea family. Apart from the teasing mentions of their shopfront, a few trade cards and regular snippets from the bankruptcy ball that was Victorian London, there is nothing.
It really would help.
It seems now that Edward Sparrow really was the father of Robert Smith (Robert Sparrow Smythe) and that the man did die in a carriage accident leaving an envoy from the 'family' to tell Robert's mother that the two-timer was deceased, as was any money that usually flowed to Eliza Smith.
George Smith who has disappeared on me, gives his father as Edward Smith, linen draper. How curious. Did Edward Sparrow work at Smith's Emporium and was Edward a member of the Robert and Frederick Smith Tea Merchants from God-knows-whereshire? That would explain the money having been given, and also the lack of any legal action. The Smith's had been poorer than poor with 'Mrs. Smith' sending her children out to the Tea merchants for the dustings of the bottom of the canisters. I wonder if they went up to Sparrow's Tea Merchants or one of the three stores the family owned.
None of the children knew the name of the father until Eliza and her brothers confronted their mother and asked who the father was - and that must have happened before Smythe emigrated for he stated using the name Smythe almost as soon as he arrived. In fact, Edward Steele seems to suggest that the children, especially Smythe, knew of it before he left in 1855 on the Kent.
Why has no-one documented the Sparrows? Why? They were a major the house of the nineteenth century in London, near St, Pauls, and on a fashionable stretch of Ludgate Hill for a long time.
So there it is; Edward, Robert, Eliza, George and Frederick, the progeny of Sparrows and no-one has left the faintest clue.