Joseph Hardcastle (1752–1819)

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For other people named Joseph Hardcastle, see Joseph Hardcastle (disambiguation).
Joseph Hardcastle
Born 1752
Died 1819 (aged 66–67)
Hatcham House, Deptford
Burial place Bunhill Fields, London
Occupation British missionary
Notable work The Missionary Society
Joseph Hardcastle's grave, Bunhill Fields, London

Joseph Hardcastle (1752–1819) was one of the founders of 'The Missionary Society', later the London Missionary Society, to which he devoted a great deal of time and money, becoming the First Treasurer.[1]


He was born in Leeds, where he lived until the age of 15, at which point he moved to London to join his uncle's business.[2] He eventually became a Merchant,[3] still based in London. During his time in London he lived at Old Swan Stairs, before moving to Hatcham House in Deptford, then a rural Surrey village, which is now the New Cross Gate area of Lewisham.[2]

The slavery abolitionist, Thomas Clarkson was a frequent guest at Hatcham House. Here Clarkson wrote a great part of his 'History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade', and met his future wife, a niece of Mrs Hardcastle. Joseph Hardcastle was especially active in arranging missionary expeditions to Africa, and created schemes whereby missionary work could be self-funding by selling artifacts brought back by the missionaries themselves.

He was married and had at least two sons.[4] His grandson was Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, MP.

He is buried in Bunhill Fields non-conformist cemetery, in London. The grave is in the north section of the T-plan, close to the red granite obelisk to Joseph Hart.


The story of Joseph's life was published in "Memoir of Joseph Hardcastle Esq., the first Treasurer of the London Missionary Society: A Record of the Past for his Descendants", which was written by his last surviving daughter, Emma Corsbie Hardcastle, and published in 1860.[1] A number of roads in the modern New Cross Gate reflect his time, most notably Joseph Hardcastle Close.