Shelvoke & Drewry Refuse Collection Vehicle types.

THE SD FREIGHTER 1922 - 1952.

In 1922 Harry Shelvoke & James Drewry founded Shelvoke & Drewry to manufacture the innovative SD Freighter. With diminutive solid tyred wheels, steering and gears controlled by two tillers and economical running costs the two founders soon established a market for their light lorry.

1922  The Original Freighter.

Since economy was to be a major selling point of the SD Freighter the earliest models were kept as simple as possible. Kaleidoscope caption 16 tells us that a canopy for the driver was 25 extra. The photo may well be of the first Freighter. Note that it has been fitted with a raised height body. The low loading height was often an advantage but sometimes the body needed to be raised to suit existing loading docks.
Photo supplied by Darren Chessum.

1925 Glass Windscreens.

Many of the early Freighters were supplied for normal transport duties with refuse collection gradually becoming the predominant use. By 1925 glass windscreens could be specified and some side protection as seen in caption 34 in Kaleidoscope. From the same caption we learn that Lucas provided electrical lighting for their Freighter whilst oil lamps remained the standard equipment.

Photo supplied by Shaun Taylor.

1927  “Dustless” Shutters.

In the 1920’s refuse largely consisted of ash from open fires so when the bins were emptied there must have been large clouds of dust – hence the ‘dustcart’ name. In 1927 SD introduced “dustless” shutters. See Kaleidoscope caption 58. Judging by the photos this must have been a very popular option for local authorities concerned about health hazards. It is less likely that they were popular with the operatives who had to balance on one leg whilst emptying the dust bin and simultaneously operating the treadle operated shutters. Later hydraulic operation was introduced which was claimed to be virtually silent in operation. An example of dustless shutters for Manchester is shown.
Photo supplied by Shaun Taylor.

1929  A bit more protection for the driver.

According to Kaleidoscope caption 45 the first fully enclosed cab came in June 1929 for the City of Salford, and this type of cab became standard for general use Freighters, although those for refuse collection waited longer. An enclosed loader cab didn’t come in until 1930 [Kaleidoscope caption 59].
Photo supplied by Shaun Taylor.

1931 Pneumatic tyres.

From 1931 pneumatic tyres became standard giving a very clear indication for age dating purposes. These tyres were of 27 ins diameter compared with the solids 20 or 24 ins dia. [Kaleidoscope captions 15, 59 & 60]. The photo shows the Freighter chassis with pneumatic tyres. A few Freighters destined for factory use were still supplied with solid tyres.
Photo supplied by Roy French.

1932  Barrier Loader & Moving Floor Loader.

In 1932 SD introduced the barrier loader. Initially this was loaded through side hatches but later rear loading was substituted. This was an unhygienic system. To overcome this difficulty SD acquired a licence from the Principality Wagon Co. of Cardiff to use their patented moving floor mechanism, which consisted of a heavy duty rubber floor that could be wound forward when the space at the rear of the body was full. [Captions 67 & 68 in Kaleidoscope.]
Photo supplied by Malcolm Easton.

Quantities Produced.
By the end of 1924 100 Freighters had been built [Kaleidoscope caption 4 ] 200 Freighters had been built by November 1925 [Kaleidoscope caption 1] and by November 1929 the 1,000th Freighter was produced. [Kaleidoscope caption 4 ]  By 1947 2,500 Freighters had been supplied for municipal use. [Kaleidoscope caption 79]

1945 The post War Mk II

During the Second World War the entire output of the SD works was devoted to the war effort. On resumption of production the Mk II Freighter was introduced. I do not know how one distinguishes a Mk II from the pre-war Freighters. The Mk II was little different from the pre-war version, the main addition being a separate hand brake lever. [Kaleidoscope caption 46] Production of the Mk II continued until 1948 and the very last one was produced in 1955.[Kaleidoscope captions 79 & 80] A total of 200 were produced post war.
[Kaleidoscope caption 128]
Photo supplied by Roy French.

1947 Fore & Aft tipper.

In 1947 a narrow version of the Mk II Freighter was introduced known as the Mk II N type. A fore & aft tipping body was an option on this vehicle. [Kaleidoscope caption 80.] This was a forerunner of the successful F&A on the later ‘W’ type chassis. This one was supplied to Stockton Council and was photographed when it was returned to Letchworth for a complete overhaul. A total of 200 N type Freighters were produced. [Kaleidoscope caption 128].
Photo supplied by the late Peter Lear.

In view of the many unique features of the SD Freighter a brochure comprising a re-print from Motor Transport dated May 21st 1923 is available:- CLICK HERE

 For other Vehicle Types click below.


New Type

'W' Type

'T' Type

'N' Type

'P' Type

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