Himbury History

Rosina Margaret Hutchings

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Rosina Margaret Hutchings 1920 - 1994

Birth= 04 Oct 1920 Mitcham, Croydon

Marriage= 19 Jul 1941 St James' Church, West Streatham to Charles James Himbury

Death= Jun 1994 Brighton, West Sussex

Spouse= Charles James Himbury

Children= Rita, Barbara, Lesley




Rose (seated to right) with siblings: Ivy, Ginny, Alice (Dutch) and Alfred

Rose was my Mum. She grew up in a fairly poor family in Streatham, she had three sisters and a brother.

I have a birthday card (postcard) addressed to Mum as Miss R Hutchings showing that her address was 104 Lilian Road, Streatham Vale, S.W.16.

Mum missed school quite a bit because she was ill a lot. I remember Mum telling me that she used to feel sick all the time and when she was twelve she had to go into hospital for an operation to sort it out. I am not sure what the operation entailed, but I have a really nice postcard which was sent to Mum by her school teacher when she was in hospital. I don’t think Mum ever really caught up with what she had missed at school and consequently she was never confident at reading and writing although she could do both adequately. What Mum lacked in academic skills she more than made up for in practical ones.

Mum married my Dad during the war in 1941 and I have a wedding photo of them in which mum is wearing a smart suit rather than a wedding dress. I believe this was because they were unable to get fabrics owing to rationing. On Mum and Dad’s wedding certificate it shows Mum and Dad had been living at the same address, 59 Fernthorpe Road prior to the wedding and I remember Mum telling me that Dad was lodging with them before they got married.


I believe Fernthorpe Road is also in Streatham. Mum and Dad’s first home after they were married was in Penrith Road in Streatham I believe, but I am unsure of the house number. I believe this was where my sister Barbara was born. They had to move out because the house was hit by a bomb. The council rehoused them in a prefab, 7 Grassmere Road, Streatham, S.W.16., which was where my other sister Rita was born and then myself several years later.

Mum was a hard working sort who couldn‘t just sit and do nothing, a very good dressmaker, and she took in sewing to help with the family budget. She always had a part-time job as well, either sewing, or, when I first started school, I remember she worked at the local laundry (United Laundries I think?) which was a big industrial laundry in Streatham. Mum also kept a spotlessly clean home and always seemed to be busy, either with housework, cooking or sewing. She made clothes for myself and my two older sisters and I remember how jealous one of my friends were because her mum couldn’t sew at all.
Mum was a very practical person and did all the decorating in our house. Decorating was not one of Dad’s strong points, but Mum enjoyed doing it, so he let her get on with it and she did a very good job. She could hang wallpaper really well and even did it for other people to help them out. I remember her hanging wallpaper for my sister and her husband when they bought their first house. She did the same for me too, coming to help me when I was decorating.
I learnt to hang wallpaper from Mum and also to sew. Thanks to Mum I have belief in myself. I truly believe that I can do anything I want to do so long as I set my mind to it. Mum instilled that attitude in me without even realising what she had done. What a fantastic gift to have been given!

Mum was a good looking lady, looked younger than her years and had lots of male admirers amongst Mum and Dad’s large circle of friends. I can remember going out to the social club with them on many occasions and there was never any shortage of chaps wanting to dance with mum. She was always well dressed and well turned out, always looked nice. She had a good sense of humour and liked a laugh. She enjoyed socialising and everyone that knew her thought she was a very nice, kind and thoughtful person.
She was also a no nonsense sort of a person with little time for self indulgence as there was always far too much to do and she obviously thought it was not good to dwell on things. I remember when I was in my early twenties and my grandmother (her mother!) died and I couldn’t understand how she just managed to carry on and not appear too upset, but now I realise that she wouldn’t have wanted anyone to feel sorry for her, she was so brave.
She did the same thing when my father died. I never saw her cry. I think she was being strong for the rest of us. I am sure she must have cried when she was alone though. Mum used to come and stay with us for a week sometimes after dad had died. It was always lovely to have her and she would spend most of the week cleaning my house and doing my ironing for me! She doted on her grandchildren and always asked about them first when I phoned her. I have a lovely picture of her with both of my girls which was taken only a few months before she died.

















She was a very strong, independent woman and remained so all her life. Never wanting to be a bother to anyone, even to the point that, when she was seriously ill and was in hospital in Brighton having chemotherapy, she ordered me not to visit her because I had a young baby at the time and was breast feeding. Mum knew that it was difficult for me to get to Brighton with two small children to care for and she obviously put on a brave face, even telephoning me from her hospital bed to reassure me that she was perfectly okay and I didn’t need to visit her! I had always done what mum told me to do, so I didn’t go and visit.

Well, not until one weekend when my sister Barbara phoned me to say that she couldn’t visit mum that weekend and would I please go and visit her? Of course I went. I left the children with their dad and drove down to Brighton to see Mum. When I walked into the hospital ward her face lit up and then she looked straight past me to see if Julian and the girls were with me, which of course they weren’t. She was disappointed about that, but we had a lovely afternoon together and she looked really well. She had her hair done nicely and she had her makeup on. She certainly didn’t look like someone who was seriously ill with Leukaemia. She chatted away to me all afternoon and proudly introduced me to all the nurses when they came in the room.


She had made friends with some of the other patients on the ward and they obviously liked her a lot. The next day (Sunday) the doctors were going to do a procedure to put a tube into her chest to facilitate the administration of the chemotherapy drugs which up till then she had been having through a tube in her arm. When it was time for me to leave I gave her a hug and a kiss and I felt like she just hung on to me for a split second longer that I would have expected her to. Mum wasn’t the demonstrative sort at all. She said that she had had a lovely afternoon and she was pleased I had come to see her. I left feeling optimistic that she was going to be okay and would be out of hospital soon and have a good few more years of happy and active life.













The next day I got a phone call from my sister saying that she was ever so sorry to have to tell me, but Mum had died on the table whilst they were putting the tube into her chest. Apparently they had accidentally nicked a vein and she had had a massive haemorrhage and there was nothing that they could do.
Mum was only 73 when she died. I felt cheated as she should have had a lot more life than that. This was a person who had celebrated her sixtieth birthday by having a water skiing lesson! She was so young and energetic and it didn’t seem fair that she should be taken away from us so soon.
I suddenly felt very alone in the world and very vulnerable . I am not as brave as she was and I have to admit that I cried a lot. Although I have a loving husband and children of my own, no one can ever replace my Mum. As long as she was alive I felt safe and I knew that if ever I was in trouble I could have gone to her and she would have helped me. The gap she left in my life is immense and even today, writing this some thirteen years after she died, I still feel the pain of losing a very special person in my life.

God bless you Mum . . . . . . . .