Nicholas Hosking was born in 1796 and started his career in the employment of James Wyer, a trunk maker with premises at 372 and 394 Oxford Street. In 1823 Wyer briefly shared a business with James Powell, a trunk maker with a shop at 341 Oxford Street, before Wyer's death in 1825. Wyer's business continued for a few years after his death and in the directory of 1827 is listed as Wyer J. & R. at 373 Oxford Str.
The early Hosking's invoice illustrated below is dated 1828 and gives an address of 339 Oxford Street as well as noting additional premises at 9 Blenheim Str. Blenheim Street is only a block behind 339 Oxford Street and was likely to be a workshop or warehouse. Hosking describes himself as a manufacturer of solid leather portmanteaus, trunks and imperials of every description, but this invoice clearly shows that portable beds were also a large part of his business. An advert in the Morning Post in June 1835 by B and J. Cook states that their Patent Metallic Travelling Beds for the Army, Navy and Home Consumption were available for inspection at Hosking's. We have also had a campaign chest by Hosking. The chest was unusual in that not only were the 2 sections united by bolts, rather than lugs, but all the handles were marked with the maker's details. He is also known to have sold rosewood tea caddies inlaid with mother of pearl and dressing cases.
In 1833 Hosking moved to 341Oxford Street, his old place of work with Wyer. In 1835 he also had additional premises at 306 Oxford Street. Between 1836 and 1841 the business expanded yet further to incorporate 342 Oxford Street.
It is probable, although not conclusive, that Nicholas Hosking died in 1847. The business continued though, run by Mary Hosking. Nicholas had both a wife and daughter named Mary but a number of the later trade directory listings note the name Mrs Mary Hosking. Its thought that Nicholas's wife died in 1859 and so perhaps she ran the business with her daughter until her death. The daughter, coincidentally, married a Richard Hosking and so kept the family name.
By 1852 only the addresses of 341 and 342 Oxford Street are listed in the directories. The business continued into the 1880's with the final reference found, dated to August 1881 and although regarding the lease of a farm that appears to be occupied by Nicholas Hosking (probably Mary's brother), it gives the address for enquiries as Mr, Rd. Hosking, 341 Oxford Street, London.
Hosking were always listed in the trade directories under Trunk Makers but as we know from a number of other makers such as Allen, Pound Hill & Millard and Day etc. it was fairly common for trunk makers to also sell campaign furniture. We know that Hosking bought at least some, if not all, of the beds that they retailed from Cook but we are unsure as to whether they manufactured their own furniture and boxes or bought them in. Nicholas's oldest son, George was a carpenter so perhaps they did manufacture their own furniture.