Page   SD Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Spring 2019.

Fifteen Years Ago in the Magazine Spring 2004

I've selected two items  from the SD Enthusiasts' Club Magazine from its fifth issue from 2004 which I thought would be of interest.



by Dennis Nelson.

For many years I was a Shelvoke Suit Case Man. I was a Demonstrator Driver and for most of the week I lived out of a suitcase. My job was to show how superior Shelvoke’s products were to those the Council were using, to our competitor’s vehicles, and even earlier SD types. A typical week was:-

Monday. Take my vehicle to a Council Depot and introduce myself to the Head of Refuse Collection. Sort out with him a programme of demonstration for the week. Park up the vehicle and head for digs.

I carried out demonstrations from Lands End to Dingwall in Scotland, to Wales and even Northern Ireland – and all places in between.

Tuesday. An early start. Off out with the Council crew on one of their rounds, perhaps from houses or maybe shops, offices or factories. As the bins are tipped into the vehicle I keep a careful count as we go along. Then, when full, it’s off to the tip via the weighbridge. Council tips are usually out in the country. Why was it they were always such windy places? You could be sure that when tipping the wind would be blowing against you, and nine times out of ten you’d be covered in ash. Or on a wet day, covered in ash and soaking wet!

At the end of the day the vehicle was parked up, and it was time for the digs again, and the necessary paperwork to be filled in – there was quite a lot of that!

Wednesday & Thursday followed a similar pattern, until the rounds were finished.

Then depending on the time I’d finished and how far from home I was, I returned to Letchworth either on Thursday evening or Friday.

Friday and Saturday were spent cleaning and servicing the vehicle, and reported back on how the demonstration had gone.

That was the life of a “Suitcase Man.” I’d started at S&D as a delivery driver. Steve Pearce is my brother in law. It was in 1960 that his father, who was in charge of S&D’s Finnish Stores,  arranged for me to be interviewed by Basil Barber, who was then the Assistant Sales Manager. My application to join the Company was successful and I began fifteen happy years at S&D. Charlie Highfield, the Chief Delivery Driver, taught me the ropes about preparing and delivering vehicles, and how to give tuition to the customer.

The company were still producing the ‘W’ type Fore & Aft tippers at that time, but the new ‘TY’ Pakamatic and the ‘TW’ F & A were being demonstrated. Jack Hubbard, who had joined S&D in 1936, was the Chief Demonstrator, and he was demonstrating the Pakamatic. Des Walsh had a Fore & Aft tipper with the double hygienic shutters at the rear. These opened by pneumatic pressure when the operator pressed a bar that ran across the rear of the vehicle. Jack Bailey had a narrow bodied ‘TW’ F & A, whilst Len Breed demonstrated the gully emptier. Wally Skeggs drove the low loader, and carried out the Freightlifter fork lift demonstrations.

A TW Fore & Aft Tipper.

When my turn came for demonstrating I was given a ‘TW’ Fore & Aft tipper before moving on to the Pakamatic. Then when the Revopak was introduced in 1971 I demonstrated that. We were part of the Sales Department, an essential element in ensuring sales for S&D. I remember many names from those days, and still see some of my former workmates. Others sadly have died, people who “showed me the ropes” and started me on the life of a “Suitcase Man.”

Dennis Nelson. 2004.

2. Memories of S&D from Canada.

by Tony Amer, Alberta, Western Canada.

When I started at S & D my first posting was the Tool Stores, which was between the Tool Room and the Inspection Department, opposite the drilling section. I worked there for about 3 to 4 months ,,,,,,,to familiarise myself with all the tools and jigs used in the Machine Shop. I worked under Doug Ryde and Les Ponds. Being an apprentice I had to brew the tea for the three of us. Tea break was in the basement (under the Drawing Office) with the entry door at the top of the slope and to the right. It was very interesting down there, as not only did we stock extra drills, reamers etc. but in one section,...which was by the collection of dust, all unused jigs and many drills and reamers that were all metric. I asked about them,,,,,,,and I believe they had been used during the war ( maybe on the submarines).

I think that in 1958 the fellow who operated the gear cutting machines,,,, was Harry Boonan, and Tommy Castle operated that long bed lathe which machined the hoist cylinders for the forklifts. I had the good fortune to operate the broaching machine for a short time. It fascinated me how you started with a round hole and after the shaft, with hundreds of teeth had passed through ......Voila.....a splined hole !!!

Although at the end of my apprenticeship, and after, I worked in the Service Department, I actually spent about half of my apprenticeship in the Machine Shop. I remember a lot of the OLD hands... Arthur Chapman, Arthur Dunham, Eddie Carpenter, Charlie Cornish, Charlie James, Freddie Castle, Frank Grimes and probably a few I have missed. It was a great education for my future.

I worked under a lot of the OLD hands in the Service Department......including Jim Morley, Jack Fitch, Eric Kilfoyle, “Charlie” Lawton, and last but not least, Frank Hopgood (who was also Arthur Chapman’s brother-in-law), who was chief engine man in the unit shop. Frank taught me a lot about engines (both petrol and diesel). He was also a very gifted trouble- shooter on engines.

I think back to those days with great nostalgia working on the MARK ll and “ W” type petrol engines, and the P-6 Perkins. Now I get to overhaul Cummins 60 litre V-16.8 turbocharger 2,800 HP engines in Alberta, for the Cummins distributor in Western Canada. And to think it all started with those S & D engines more than 40 years ago.

SD engine and gearbox as used in the 'W'type

When I left SHELVOKES in 1971........I never thought I would ever find another company that I felt so attached to. Low and behold ...I have worked for Cummins for over 30 years now and some of my workmates have been there all those years, so I consider myself very fortunate indeed that I really only have worked for two companies in 45 years.

Tony Amer. 2004

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