In 1969, when she was 58, the bulldozers reached her gate. Her response was to number each beam and pane of glass so that her home could be reassembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Dismantling the heavy oak timber frame, held together with tapered wooden pegs, was both difficult and dangerous. A team of local demolition contractors helped May. She traced over a sample of brickwork using greaseproof paper and crayons so that she would know which bond to use and how thick to lay the mortar.
She continued to live in the house as it was taken down, sleeping beneath the stars in the freezing cold.