I have said many times that I regret not having properly listening to the stories my mother related about her childhood and the little bits and pieces about my grandmother and her own history. Now, in turn, I find that my children have the same attitude and like me they will possibly also wished they had taken in my history as well. I have therefore decided that I will write my story or rather start to write my story whether I will finish it is another matter.
I was registered by my father, Frank William Hoskins, as being born on the third day of November 1932, although my mother always claimed that I was born near midnight the day before, but because the birth was such a traumatic event, with me almost killing her as she pushed my 13lb. body into the world with the assistance of Nurse Ridpath, the midwife, that my father was in such a tither that he had no idea what time, what day or what month for that matter, that the event took place. I was named Brian on the suggestion of the midwife rather than being christened ‘ The Baby’ or ‘It’.
The venue for this momentous occasion was a newly built, rented, semi-detached house, Shaftesbury Avenue, Chandler’s Ford, in the Borough of Eastleigh, in the County of Hampshire. It was then the first house on the southern side of the road off Bournemouth Road, the main road between Southampton and Winchester. My parents moved into this house 1929 or 30. With the exception of a small hall, a ‘School of Dancing’, the Avenue was made up of a mix of detached and semi-detached houses and detached bungalows, all built after the Great War. I have no memory of the house during the time I lived there because the family moved before I was old enough to remember my surroundings. A photograph taken in the front garden of that house, when I was about eighteen months old, show my older sister, Patricia (Pat) and brother [ cousin ] Rodney (Rod) and myself as a very plump or should I say fat little boy in a one piece bathing costume. Later I did know roughly what the house was like inside because three weeks after I was born, the next door neighbour, Mrs. Reeves gave birth to their only child, Denny. When I was at infant school I played with him at his house on a couple of occasions.
The house was a typical nineteen twenties/thirties semi with a round arch over the front door, a small hall with the stairs on one side leading up to the three bedrooms and tiny bathroom. The doors to the front room and the dining room were off to the left of the hall, with the entrance to the very small kitchen at its end. A back door at the side and a door into a pantry or larder as it was called, further reduced the working area in the kitchen. Outside there was a lean-to on the back of the kitchen which was the coalhouse. Both the front and back gardens were small and connected by a path running along the side of the house. To compensate for the lack of immediate garden, both houses had an allotment abutting our house and parallel to the road and extending to the junction with Bournemouth Road, where there was a large hoarding on the corner facing towards the main road. It was about fifteen foot or more high. Later a wider hoarding was erected the full width of the plot, with it’s wooden back and timber support struts facing our house and the front facing the main road with adverts for well known goods such as Bisto, Oxo and Guinness being ‘ Good for You‘.
Uncle Den, my mothers eldest brother and his wife Esme, who at the time of my birth had a daughter, June and later Hazel and Barry, lived in a typically 20/30’s styled bungalow just down the avenue on the same side as our house, whilst my Uncle Doug, another brother and his wife Mabel, who later had three children, Micheal, Robin and Jill, lived further along the road in a semi-detached house of a similar plan to the one we lived in but on the opposite side. My Grandma and Granddad and at that time, my mothers youngest sister Joan, who was roughly twenty years younger, and at that time unmarried, lived along the main road, in a late Victorian three bedroom semi-detached house. It was only a sort distance from the junction with Shaftesbury Avenue, and only about a hundred yards from our house. At one stage, the whole Osmond family, (my mother’s maiden name), my grandparents and their ten children, five boys and five girls had lived there.