In 2007 the BBC's immensely popular Antiques Roadshow broadcast, unprecedentedly, two features on a truly remarkable woman. Her niece, Christine Adams, had come to a Norfolk Roadshow with some memorabilia from the house of her aunt, May Savidge. But this was only a tiny fraction of the house's contents, and only hinted at the facts of May Savidge's life. Now, Christine Adams tells how she discovered the full story. May Savidge lived in a half-timbered house in Hertfordshire. When the council served her with a compulsory purchase notice to make way for a roundabout, May decided she had to move - but so did the house. So she had the whole thing dismantled and shipped to the North Norfolk coast...and then spent the rest of her life rebuilding it, single-handed. But she also filled that house with everything she had ever possessed in her life: every bus ticket, item of clothing, and a voluminous daily diary. When she finally became ill and died, and guiltily bequeathed the still unfinished house to her niece to finish, she left behind an amazing archive of one woman's life.
And that life, as Christine found as she started on the daunting task of sorting through May's house, was itself remarkable in its richness, from being a female engineer designing the Mosquito in wartime to heartbreaking love affairs. No-one can fail to be moved and awed by this indomitable woman. Christine Adams now runs a Bed and Breakfast in May Savidge's old house in Norfolk. Michael McMahon is also the co-author of My Friend the Enemy (978 1 84513 316 0).
Christine Adams now runs a Bed and Breakfast in May Savidge's old house in Norfolk. Michael McMahon is also the co-author of My Friend the Enemy (978 1 84513 3160).