Page 1.   Shelvoke & Drewry Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Autumn 2023.


Four photos have arrived recently of SD Freighter all on solid tyres, and I thought they’d make an interesting page shown together.


Nigel Atha sent in this newspaper photo from Shepway Today showing the retored ex-Folkestone Freighter Reg. No. KP 7660. With the Title:- Bin there, done that.

The text reads:-

The way we were … this is one of the earliest ‘bin lorries’, to work on the streets of Folkestone. The photograph was sent to Shepway Today by John Fitch of Sturry whose father John, ‘Jack’ Fitch, an engineer is pictured.

Jack was employed by the former Shelvoke & Drewry company of Letchworth in Hertfordshire which manufactured commercial vehicles. The original covers on the dustcart were canvas, but were later made of steel sheet.

John say that the dustcart, which was manufactured in 1927, saw many years of service for the former Folkestone Borough Council collecting rubbish from local homes before it fell into ‘wrack and ruin.’ It was salvaged and re-built by a team of Shelvoke & Drewry apprentices and was entered in the London to Brighton run for commercial vehicles in the 1950’s.


Brads Ross provided this photo of one of the first Freighters. A raised platform body has been provided to accommodate any customer who already has a standard height loading dock where the low loading height wasn’t required.


Martin Blatch shared this photo of a Freighter designated ‘Letchworth No. 2’. It is equipped with the early style canvas covers and in all probability replaced a horse drawn cart. Letchworth’s Cleansing Departments yard was just a short distance from SD’s works in Icknield Way on the opposite side of the road. It must have been pleasing for the company to not only secure the local council as a customer but also to receive a repeat order.


Darren Ainsworth sent a link to this photo from the Visit Dunfermline Facebook page. Two operators stand alongside the Freighter which is fitted with twin rear wheels. It’s also equipped with ‘dustless shutters’ which were opened by foot treadles. At the time a lot of the refuse consisted of ash from open fires and when the bins were tipped into the body inevitable a cloud of dust emerged. To some extent the shutter would reduce this. The text on the body appears to encourage householders to burn their vegetable waste to reduce rates.

On the Dunfermline page Charlie Kingour commented:-The bin lorry at the top was a nightmare to work with. As it filled up, you found yourself throwing the rubbish uphill, out of the bucket. Not easy if you're short. And with nothing to stop it, you often ended up wearing it when it fell back down, as you attempted to fill it right up, to save going to the tip, which you did frequently. You'd be lucky to get a street's worth in there.”


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