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’ 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 lived there until 1903 and called the house ‘Agincourt’.
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.
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 2001 memoir ‘A Rejected Childhood’. In more recent years, it has accommodated the Jesmond Nursing Home.
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