History of the Company

James May

E May & Son is a small family business now run by the fourth generation. Established in 1889 at Langenhoe by James May who, with his two sons, Edward and Joseph served the building needs of the local area until his retirement in 1930. James May and son became May Brothers when James handed the business over to Edward and Joseph.

In those days the business world was somewhat different and although planning and design were becoming much more formal and controlled, contracts and agreements were often based upon a handshake and mutual trust.

During those years Edwards son Robin was growing up and he followed the family tradition of taking an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner. Again in the tradition of the day he left the family to work for other builders gaining a wider range of knowledge. With the outbreak of war Robin found himself directed to defence works building pillboxes eventually arriving in the East End of London where he worked on bomb damage repairs and the famous Mulberry Harbours.

Edward May

At the end of hostilities he returned and once again the business had a name change becoming E. May and son.

Post war building was difficult. Materials fuel and vehicles were difficult to obtain and this was a lean period. However the coming of the fifties saw an uprising in housing as local engineering and other companies prospered. An architect designed house was a sign of status and during the fifties and sixties many houses and bungalows were built by the firm in Colchester and the surrounding villages.

Edward took a lesser role until his death in 1958. At this time Robin put in much effort with developing markets and moderninsing the business. Toward the end of thesixties the housing market came to be dominated by large developers and one-off houses were less common. To compensate for this change E May and son expanded what had been a small part of the business working as an approved contractor to the local council. To this end the emphasis changed to work of repair maintenance and improvement in schools libraries and other public buildings. At this time facilities for the diasabled were improving and the improvement work involved in this area also became an important aspect of the company portfolio.

Robin May

By the end of the eighties public utility work had lessened with changes in the budgetry systems of the local authority and although some 'schoolwork' continued this is now a relatively small part of the whole. Over the last fifteen years or so the area of renovation and refurbishment, particularly of older historically significant properties has become an important part of the whole. Much work in the modernisation and repair of almshouses has enabled particular skills not only when dealing with old buildings but also a sympathetic understanding of the more mature occupants.

Specialised and bespoke joinery in the company joinery shop has proved to be a valuable part of the business. This is particularly true in the area of replacement items such as box casements, one-off doors and bespoke staircases.

Now in the 21st century two May brothers Philip and David are running the business. In keeping with the needs of today the company is now Limited but the family aspect remains constant. At this time the work force is small but highly competent, backed up by sub-contractors known and trusted for their individual skills over many years of association.

European Builders Confederation Federation of Master Builders
Registered Company No: 4944425 | Registered VAT No: 830 7645 28