The Unofficial Shelvoke & Drewry Website.


Kaleidoscope of Shelvoke & Drewry.

Nick Baldwin & William Negus.

Marshall Harris & Baldwin 1980

ISBN 0906116 17 1

This is the definitive history of the Company up to the end of the 1970's. Using the unique collection of glass negatives from Clutterbucks, Commercial photographers of Letchworth, who recorded every vehicle that left the works from the day they started until 1952.

Richly illustrated the book details both municipal vehicles from the first freighter, through the Fore & Aft tipper, Pakamatic and Revopak models, and includes details of Fork Lift Truck manufacture and the Special Vehicle division created in 1979.

SD – Shelvoke & Drewry

(Vintage Roadscene Archive Volume 11)

by Malcolm Bates

Kelsey Publishing 2020

ISBN 977-2632479004-11

Malcolm Bates was employed by S&D  from 1969 for fourteen years becoming SD's Publicity Manager. He became responsible for photography of the vehicles. This volume contains many of Malcolm's memories of his years with the company along with a detailed history. Malcolm includes his views on the meits of the various products, and his views on the management of the company.

The happenings after the 1980 publication of Kaleidoscope of Shelvoke & Drewry and the closure of the company in 1991 are covered.

Vintage Lorry Annual.

Edited by Nick Baldwin.

Marshall Harris & Baldwin 1979.

ISBN 0 90116 07 4

 This Annual contains an article by Nick Baldwin about the 1927 S & D Freighter restored by apprentices in 1968 to the 1922 specification. Nick is taught how to drive the vehicle by Jack Hubbard the company's chief demonstration driver for forty years from 1936.

The vehicle carries the livery of the Borough of Folkestone. green4.gif Preserved Vehicles.

An article about Motor Panels (Coventry) Ltd. refers to S & D's use of their Mark III cabs.

Municipal Refuse Collection Vehicles.

Barrie C. Woods. Trans-Pennine Publishing Ltd. 1999.

ISBN 0 9521070 4 X

Barrie Woods is an ex-employee of Shelvoke & Drewry and Norba and he gives an informative history of British Municipal Refuse collection vehicles. Hardly surprisingly the largest descriptions are of S & D and Dennis vehicles.


The Vintage Commercial Vehicle Magazine.

Volume 6 No. 31 March/April 1991.

 This issue contains an article by Bill Aldridge entitled "Municipal Workhorses - Refuse Collectors." The vehicles produced by Shelvoke & Drewry naturally feature prominently in this article.

Volume 8 No.45 May/June 1993.

An article "Bringing the Bricks to the Builder" by Bill Aldridge mainly concerns the road fleet of the London Brick Company. However reference is made to the fact that S & D supplied over 150 Fork Lift trucks to the company, and that some of these lasted in service for more than twenty years.

Observers series.


Nick Baldwin.

Penguin Books 1986

ISBN 1 85471 164 4

This small volume contains three photographs of vehicles produced under the Shelvoke Dempster name:-

A PN Revopak.

A Route Chief 623 with the American designed Dempster rear loading system.

An SPV fire appliance chassis with Angloco bodywork.


The May 1999 Issue, (Volume 4 Number 9) carries an article about the history of S & D by Alex Kermotschuk with photographs of a number of the company's products.

The July 1998 (Vol.3 No.11), March 1999 (Vol.4 No.7),August 1999 (Vol.4 No.12) and September 19999 (Vol.5 No.1) carry an account of the restoration of the Bradford TBN Pakamatic under the title 'Common as Muck', by the same writer.

The author of this website was able to purchase these as back issues in March 2003. Kelsey Publishing Group 01959 541444

 The January 2006 issue has an article about Clive MacDonald's preserved Newham recovery vehicle, along with a brief history of S&D.

The May 2012 issue reports on Peter Johnston's restored SD Freighter first registered on 1st March 1929 to Irish agricultural machinery maker Pierce of Wexford. The article also carries a brief history of the SD Freighter. [In the July 2011 issue an article features the restoration work of Jimmy McAleer of Fintona, near Omagh, who restored Peter's Freighter to superb condition.]

BUSES EXTRA 49 October-November 1987.

I'd been looking for this magazine for a very long time then at last I found a copy on E-bay for a very reasonable 2.50 plus postage and packing.

Over fourteen pages David Kaye gives an exhaustive account of the fifty or so Freighter chassis that were fitted with bus type bodies. He gives an account of all the undertakings that employed SD Freighters and reports on their use when they were sold on.

The article also features the low entry bus chassis from the SPV Division that appeared at the 1980 motor show. Subsequently it was bodied by Reeve Burgess with a centre entrance either side. At first used at Gatwick Airport as a car park bus by 1983 it had been reallocated to Heathrow for internal staff transport. Regrettably no further orders followed.

For anyone interested in this aspect of the history of Shelvoke & Drewry this article is a  mine of information. So I hope you have as successful a search as I have.


Bill Aldridge.

Not only does Bill give a fascinating account of brick production but he also tells the story of handling and transporting the London Brick Company's products. Shelvoke's Freightlifter and Defiant forklift trucks feature in the story. So too do the Refuse Vehicles as the brick pits were used for landfill and L.B.C. became engaged in the waste disposal business. A thoroughly recommended read.


An Anthology of The Worthing Tramocars.

The Southdown Enthusiasts' Club.

This book was published in 2002 by The Southdown Enthusiasts' Club. It tells the fascinating story of how, soon after the formation of Shelvoke & Drewry, W.R. Gates recognised the potential of the chassis as a passenger vehicle. The low entrance height made the Freighter suitable for sea front operations in Worthing. Gates gave his vehicle the name 'Tramocar', and built up to a fleet of eleven, before selling out to Southdown in 1938.

The book contains 92 pages of text, with 12 black & white photographs with colour card covers.

One section is a reproduction of an article from the November 1st 1924 edition of 'Modern Transport' in which the new S & D Freighter is described. Time Tables and Fare Tables are reproduced, and a full account of the Tramocar operation is given.

Anyone with an interest in S & D will find a fascinating insight into a more unusual role for the Freighter within the pages of this book.

For ordering details see:

Letchworth First Garden City by Mervyn Miller  first published in 1989 by Phillimore & Co. Ltd. Second Edition 2002. ISBN 1 86077 213 7

Several references to Shelvoke & Drewry appear in this comprehensive history of the Garden City.

'On The Dust'

A Pictorial History of Municipal Vehicle Development

Edited by Malcolm Bates.

Kelsey Publishing Group 2016

ISBN 978-1-910554-27-2

Former SD Publicity Manager, Malcolm Bates, naturally gives a very prominent
place to the vehicles produced by Shelvoke & Drewry in this lavishly illustrated
98 page 'bookazine'. Included is a chapter on preserved vehicles and
reproductions of sales brochures. The publication is part of Vintage Roadscene's
 Road Haulage Archive.

From bicycles to dustcarts … and lots more.

James Sydney Drewry (1882 – 1952)

By Malcolm Stewart Easton.

Published 2022.

Malcolm Easton, the grandson of James Drewry, has used his grandfather’s extensive archive and other material to write a comprehensive history of the life and achievements of James Drewry. All too often the contribution of James Drewry to the S&D Partnership is overshadowed by memories of Harry Shelvoke. This excellent book redresses the balance and gives an insight into the character and achievements of the co-founder of Shelvoke & Drewry.

Clearly James Drewry kept many documents relating to his career as a distinguished designer and engineer. Tony Drewry, who is Malcolm Easton’s, second cousin, has also researched the family history over many years and produced an extensive website with the assistance of Malcolm in his task. See:-

The book is A5 format and 118 pages long and extensively illustrated. The purchase price is 8.00 plus 2.40 post & packing where appropriate. The Editor can supply a contact address.



In 2010 Malcolm Bates, former SD employee, where he managed the sales publicity, was commissioned to write a series of articles about Municipal vehicles for Vintage Roadscene Magazine. Naturally Shelvoke & Drewry products featured prominently in these articles.


Issue 123 February 2010

In the first of these articles Malcolm looked at the early days of the SD Freighter and showed examples of the 'W' type with a moving floor type body and the Fore & Aft tipper.

Issue 124  March 2010

In the 1960's compaction type bodies were introduced such as S&D's Pakamatic and Revopak and the Eagle Compressmore.

Issue 125 April 2010

For this issue Malcolm turned his attention to the effect of 'competitive tendering' under the Margaret Thatcher led Conservative government. Also in this issue Ron Henderson wrote about S&D's SPV fire appliances.

Issue 126 May 2010

The growth of commercial waste companies was the theme for this issue.

Issue 127 June 2010

Standard commercial vehicles used by municipal operators were featured in this month's article.

Issue 128 July 2010

Liquid waste collection utilising gully emptiers and cesspool emptiers occupied Malcolm's mind for this issue.

Issue 129 August 2010

Roadsweepers were this month's subject. Appropriately in a separate feature a Drewry designed Lacre roadsweeper is 
shown on the 1970 HCVS London to Brighton Run.

Issue 130 September 2010

The bulk loaders that deliver waste to the landfill sites are the subject of Malcolm's article for this issue. We've come a long way 
from the time the local dustcart used to take each load to the tip giving the operators a welcome break.

Issue 131 October 2010

Prototypes that never made the market are the subject of this article. Included are photos of SD's ill fated Model 25/30 Fore & 
Aft tipper which failed spectacularly. 

Sketches of Malcolm's ideas for future SD products give a glimpse of what might have been. The less than successful Freighter 
New Type also features.

Issue 132 November 2010

How did all those foreign designs take over the British market? In his inimitable style Malcolm recalls how Heil got a foothold in the U.K., and others such as Norba followed. 

He laments that even Dennis are now Spanish owned. It's a long way from the time when SD exported world-wide.

Issue 147 February 2012 Whilst writing about Guy vehicles Malcolm Bates managed to sneak in a picture of a Defiant 26 fork lift truck loading a Guy Warrior truck.
 Issue149 April 2012  in a series entitled 'Top 10 Life Changing Commercials', Malcolm turned his attention to S&D once more, principally featuring the
Special Purpose Vehicle Division.
Issue 168 November 2013 Malcolm Bates visits McCreath Taylor in Lisburn, Northern Ireland and drives the newly restored 'W' type Fore & Aft tipper.
The 'W' features on the front cover.
Issue 170 January 2014 Once again a Shelvoke graces the front cover. This time it's a Defiant fork lift truck loading a London Brick Company's AEC with bricks.
Inside over eight pages Malcolm Bates relates the story of the early days of mechanical handling. And as we'd expect the article
mainly focuses on SD's Freightlifter and Defiant fork lift trucks. 
Also on the letters page there are two photos of an unusual water tanker on a 'T' type chassis.
Issue 172 (171?) February 2014 Under the Title 'Binwagon History BC' Malcolm Bates writes about refuse collection before compaction and features
the introduction of SD's Fore & Aft tipper.
 A further article by Steve Jones reveals his desire to see an 'N' series repatriated from Malta into preservation.
Issue 172 March 2014 In this issue Malcolm Bates relates the introduction of the Pakamatic on chassis designed under the leadership of Tom Tillson.
Issue 173 April  2014

In Part 3 of 'The History of the Bin Wagon' Malcolm Bates relates how the SD Revopak was designed in response to the 
changing nature of refuse In particular the adoption of plastic  refuse sacks had demonstrated some of the limitations of the Pakamatic design. 

The Revopaks rotating tines made short work of plastic sacks as it did of  discarded fridges, wardrobes etc. 

With his exhaustive knowledge of Shelvoke & Drewry Malcolm relates how as local authorities realised the advantages of wheelie
bins the dominance of foreign manufacturers of bin lifts benefitted foreign manufacturers of complete refuse collection vehicles also. 

The era of British manufacture of specialised RCV's was almost at an end.

Issue174 May 2014  

Malcolm Bates came to S&D in 1969 having been appointed publicity officer in the Sales Department by Jack Wilkinson, where
he was responsible for designing and producing all the sales brochures, arranging the photographs and producing cutaway drawings 
for the Drawing Office.That he succeeded at interview was something of a minor miracle. Arriving in as red three piece suit he parked his 

MG ZB Magnette in the space reserved for the Finance Director; he then said he thought SD sales and service literature was “awful” only 
to learn that Jack Wilkinson’s brother produced them for S&D as manager at the printers Spotiswood and Ballantyne. 

The sombre grey suited management of S&D found the young graphic designer had very different ideas from their own.

A fine series of articles has kept the SD name alive to readers of this magazine.

Issue 180
November 2014
In this article Malcolm Bates reports on the SD vehicles supplied for non-refuse collection duties. Throughout its history S&D attracted
customers requiring a rugged chassis and often the ability to provide a narrow body.
Issue 182
January 2015
In this article Malcolm Bates explores the range of vehicles produced from 1978 by the SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) Division to which
he had design input.
Issue 187
June 2015
Peter Johnston  comments on two photos taken in 1929 where an SD Freighter is utilised in road surfacing work in County Down in
preparation for the RAC Tourist Trophy race.
Issue 241
December 2019
Malcolm Bates writes about the Freightlifter fork trucks.
Issue 249
August 2020

Malcolm Bates writes mainly about how he came to S&D in 1969, his hopes, ambitions and frustrations primarily in his first five years.

Issue 253
December 2020

 Part 2 of the article from August 2020. Malcolm Bates describes the part he played in the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) Division.


                  January 2020.                                    The late Alan Barnes writes about Refuse Collection Vehicles under the title:- Rubbish - The Dustcart.

The PSV Circle Historic Journal.

                 March 2019                                             Peter Tulloch writes about SD Freighters as buses and a brief history of S&D.

                June 2020                                                 Peter Tulloch gives corrections to March 2019 issue.

 For other pages click below.


Company History

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Preserved Vehicles

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SD Enthusiasts' Club

Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter

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