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 Chambers Kent, who also designed many buildings in Strathfield including the Strathfield Town Hall.
Washington Handley Soul (1845-1927), 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. This building has had numerous additions and alterations and its appearance is greatly altered.
Hardly recognisable as being a former mansion except for a few obsolete chimneys and part of a gable. If only Strathfield had recognised the beauty of these large homes earlier, we may have had a lot more survive the “modernisation” of the suburb last century.