Joseph Hardcastle (1752 – 1819) was a philanthropist and merchant who became one the founders of The Missionary Society, later the London Missionary Society, he devoted time and money to its affairs, becoming its first Treasurer. Born in Leeds, he moved to London aged 15 to join his uncle’s business. He eventually became a merchant. During his time in London he lived at Old Swan Stairs, before moving to Hatcham House in Deptford, then a rural Surrey village. Thomas Clarkson the slavery abolitionist was a frequent guest at Hatcham House. Here Clarkson wrote much of his History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and met his future wife, a niece of Mrs Hardcastle. Hardcastle was especially active in arranging missionary expeditions to Africa, and created schemes through which missionary work could be self-funding by the sale of artefacts brought back by the missionaries. This street is laid out over former railway works and engine sheds.
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