May Hardman (née Mason) was a housewife who lived at 13 Coronation Street with husband George Hardman and their daughter Christine. May married George in 1930 and they moved into No.13 that same year, although Christine wasn't born until 1939.
When May met George he was a lowly bank teller with apparently few prospects but he was driven to succeed. During the marriage, the neighbours gossiped about May's odd manner, as she did not socialise with them and she was a terrible housewife. The Hardmans were separated for the duration of World War II as May evacuated to the coast with Christine.
May was a spoiled young woman who had only married George because she had assumed her family would object to his low social status (his family had mostly worked in the mines), only for her to feel put out when they happily accepted George. After May gave birth to Christine, she told George they would no longer have a sexual relationship. During the war, May happily evacuated to Blackpool with baby Christine, but forced her sister Madge to stay at the Hardman home on Coronation Street so it could not be taken by the government for other purposes. George spent a few days with Madge before leaving for war, and when he returned at Christmas of 1939, they both realised how much they loved each other. They became lovers, with George planning to leave May and go away with Madge as soon as the war was over. Madge was killed during an air raid in 1940. A devastated George stayed away for the duration of the war, allowing the house to be let to Martha Longhurst and her family.
In 1953, George decided the family could afford to move to a nicer area and they settled on a detached house in Oakhill, close to his new grocery shop. Two years later, George died and both the house and the shop had to be sold to pay off his debt. May and Christine were forced by circumstances to move back to Coronation Street and the house they had so proudly left behind. May was as devastated by the shame and material loss and as she was by George's death, and she kept to herself.
After spending time in a psychiatric hospital after a breakdown in 1960, May returned home and was cared for by Christine and neighbour Esther Hayes. She was initially worried about what the neighbours were saying about her behind her back. After a few days she started having pains in her head, symptoms of a brain tumour which caused her to collapse on 30th December. She died alone in her house although her knocking on the wall beforehand roused the neighbours, so she was found immediately.
- May Hardman was the first character to die in Coronation Street. She was played by Joan Heath. Additional information on May's background was found in Coronation Street at War, a book set from 1939-1943, written by Daran Little.
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