The move from Number 10 Great Ormond Street to the leafy idyll of Whetstone, North London, took place in October 1888. The new premises for the “Home for the Aged and Incurable” was “Woodside House” on Joseph Baxendale’s Woodside Estate.
Although Joseph Baxendale died in 1872, Woodside was his legacy and a place he spent the nearly thirty years of his retirement. Without the generous gift of Woodside, there would be no Baxendale Care Home in Whetstone today.
Joseph Baxendale was born in Lancaster in 1785. He left there at nineteen to “fight my way through life”. Two years later, in 1806, he was working as a linen draper in St Paul’s Churchyard in London. He returned to Lancaster in 1809 and with a borrowed £4,000, bought into Bannister Hall & Co, a calico printing business. He retired from that business seven years later, with a profit of £6,000. The same year, 1816, he married Mary Birly.
The following year Joseph’s interest turned to haulage and transportation. He paid £8,000 for one sixth share in T & M Pickfords & Co of Manchester. Pickfords had been established in the 1720s but, by the time of Joseph’s interest, was facing an uncertain future. Joseph’s vision and energy took Pickfords into a profitable new direction. He brought increased efficiency to the company’s canal and road networks and took a far-sighted interest in the early emergence of the railways.
By 1829 Pickfords was once again a strong and successful business, a situation the company attributes to their “saviour” Joseph Baxendale. The Baxendale Family, through Joseph’s son and grandsons, continued to be associated with Pickfords until 1932, when L.H. Baxendale left the Pickfords board.
In 1823, Joseph bought the Woodside Estate, borrowing £6,500 from Pickfords for the 31 acre site. Over the next fifty years, he enlarged the estate to 76 acres. Joseph spent the majority of his time in Whetstone and he and his family were well know in the local area. Joseph donated the land and a large proportion of the funds required to build St. John’s Church on the estate. In 1879, after the Church was renovated, the Baxendale family donated a new stained glass east window, commissioned from William Morris & Co.
Joseph and Mary had seven children, fours sons and three daughters. In later years, Joseph’s sons actively encourage his retirement and, in 1845, he acquiesced, spending his time in the grounds of Woodside, enjoying the flower beds and the lake. He kept the grounds open all year round for local schools to enjoy the lawns in the summer and ice skating on the lake in the winter.
Joseph died at Woodside in 1872. He is buried in the vault at the rear of St. John’s Church with his wife Mary and several descendants.
The Woodside Estate passed from Joseph’s son, Lloyd Baxendale, to Lloyd’s sons: (Harry) Lloyd Henry Baxendale and Francis Hugh Baxendale. Harry and Francis had both established their own estates, so Woodside was surplus to their requirements.
In 1888 they were approached by their cousin, Mrs F S Powell, secretary to the “Home for the Aged and Incurable” in Central London. She enquired if Woodside was available for the Home to use. Harry and Francis generously agreed and became Trustees of the charity.
The “Home for the Aged and Incurable” moved to Whetstone in 1888 and, 31st October 1892, the Baxendale family gifted the property and estate in trust for the Home.