by Cathy Jones
Jesmond Nursing Home, 81-85 Albert Road Strathfield is the former home ‘Agincourt’, most famously the former home of pharmacist Washington H Soul from 1903 to 1927. Though this building has been significantly altered with extensions, some parts of the Victorian style residence are still visible.
‘Agincourt’ is built on land previously owned by the Camden Congregational College. The College had intended to build a theological college in Strathfield. Due to onset of the 1890’s Depression the plans were withdrawn and the College proceeded with subdivision of the land, which was then offered for private sale. This subdivision includes properties on Albert Road [north-side], Homebush Rd and Beresford Road [south side].
‘Agincourt’ was built c.1891 for John Paul, a ships chandler. The house was designed by architect Harry C Kent in 1890. The Sydney Morning Herald records his calling for builders for the house designed for John Paul Esq in June 1890. Paul called the house ‘Agincourt’ and lived there until 1903.
The house is notable as the home of Washington Handley Soul [1845-1927], who moved to ‘Agincourt’ upon retirement in 1903 and lived there until his death in 1927.
Soul and his father Caleb established their first drug store and dispensary in Pitt St Sydney in 1872 called Washington H Soul & Co. Soul merged with Pattinson & Co in 1903 and became a public company known as Washington H Soul, Pattinson & Co. In 1903, Soul’s land holdings measured 3 acres, which has been decreased with various subdivisions at the rear and eastern boundaries.
Soul was a prominent Freemason who built his own Masonic Lodge in 1922 at the rear of ‘Agincourt’ facing Beresford Road. The Lodge was called “Lodge Washington H. Soul” and was located at 44 Beresford Road Strathfield.
In 1929, ‘Agincourt’ was converted into the ‘Deaconess Children’s Home’, a Church of England Orphanage. This was also recorded in some records as the Pallister Girl’s Home. A detailed account of the orphanage and physical descriptions of the property is contained in Win Evan’s ‘A Rejected Childhood’, 2001. In more recent years, it has accommodated the Jesmond Nursing Home.
Photo October 21 1929. The Sydney Morning Herald p 14. (Source: Trove, National Library)
This building has had numerous additions and alterations and its appearance is greatly altered.
Many photographs of ‘Agincourt’s’ interior and exterior were published during the occupancy of Washington H. Soul.
“Advertising.” The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Jun 1890, page 2.
Evans, Win ‘A Rejected Childhood’, 2001
Green, Annette, The Village of Homebush Walking Map, 1987.
Strathfield Council Valuations Lists
Sands Sydney Directory published by John Sands until 1932
Wise’s Post Office Directory