Peter May’s father, Dick, bought a small carriers business in 1920 at Elstead, five miles from Godalming in Surrey. Soon he expanded into buses with a Ford model TT able to carry both parcels and passengers. By 1927, the business had grown to require five buses as well as a car, used as a taxi, with two bus routes. Dick May sold his bus business to Aldershot & District in January 1928. Apart from a brief flirtation with private-hire coaches in the early nineteen-fifties, May’s Motors concentrated on road haulage for the remainder of its existence.
The Full Turn of the Wheel is very much a personal account of the running of the family transport business over eight decades. It will appeal to those interested in local history in the Godalming area, in family history, as well as to transport historians. Peter starts by briefly describing his childhood in the first three chapters taking the reader up to the start of the Second World War. Two chapters describe the situation in Elstead during the war.
Peter May joined the family business and gradually took over the running of it from his father. In 1947 came nationalisation of road transport, and under threat of losing part of the business, the diversification into private hire for about five years. The story goes on in similar vein for the next fifty years with its ups and downs and stresses and strains. Intertwined with all this, Peter got married, raised a family, built up the haulage business and created a pig-rearing unit. The haulage business continued to grow in size and had nineteen trucks in 1958. Bedfords were initially favoured, but later Guys, Atkinsons and Scanias were bought for the May’s fleet. Expansion into Europe brought more challenges to be overcome. A complete chapter details Peter’s involvement with the Road Haulage Association. The final chapter describe the progressive loss of the two main operations and the outcome of that part of Peter’s ever-changing world. The business was finally wound up in 1997 and Peter moved to Cornwall for a well-earned retirement.
ISBN 978 0 9552876 1 9. 236 pages, B5 softback, 80 photographs (20 colour) including several of the 1920’s bus fleet.
Copies are available from the Association at:
RTHA Ltd., 6 Cefn Glas, Tycoch, Swansea SA2 9GW
priced at £16.00 including postage and packing.
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