Page 4. SD Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Winter 2023.
SHELVOKE & DREWRY IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTUARY.
As a Shelvoke & Drewry employee my time at the company was a relatively short one – a mere nine years. It was not unusual for employees to be welcomed into the SD 40 Club after40 years as an employee. I started in 1953, completed five years apprenticeship and then added two years to gain a Higher National Diploma. Then I joined the staff firstly as a Jig & Tool draughtsman and then a production planning engineer, before leaving in 1962. Obviously when sharing reminiscences and memories former SD employees from different eras will have different insights. But a common theme is:- “It was a very good place of work”, we were well treated and respected, “There was always plenty of good humour.”
Some people who are keeping the memories and reputation of the company are those who are preserving SD vehicles for the future, and I feel I have no option but to remind you of a few of these stalwarts, who have given time and money so that a surprising at least seventy-seven vehicles still exist. I refer to them here in no particular order of their importance. Any SD Enthusiasts should be grateful to them for all that they have done and are doing.
By sheer coincidence at the end of the year in which I’d launched the Website, Channel 4 TV broadcast in their Salvage Squad series a programme about the ex-Isles of Scilly 1982 PN Revopak Reg. No. SCY 786 X owned by Steve Jones from Sandown, Isle of Wight. Steve became fascinated by dustcarts at an early age and was unable to resist staring from the school window every week when the bins were emptied. Publicity by the TV company immediately gave me a list of contacts sufficient to launch the Enthusiasts’ Club in 2003. Steve also owns a PNL Revopak which is undergoing restoration.
Steve at the wheel of his PN Revopak.
Unusually for S&D Malcolm came to the company as a young man in 1969 not having served an apprenticeship in Letchworth but rather studying design at an art college.
Malcolm was designated the title of Publicity Manager, attached to the Sales Department, despite only managing himself, with responsibility to design and produce all sales brochures, arrange photographs, and produce cutaway drawings for the Drawing Office. He also was given responsibility for replying to letters.sent in requesting information about SD’s previous products. This allowed him access to SD’s photo book master archive.
Malcolm on the left at Letchworth September 2022.
He remained with the company until being made redundant in 1983 and became a freelance journalist and photographer. Whenever he found an opportunity Malcolm has written about Shelvoke & Drewry. Often critical of the management but with a far more modern approach than I can produce. I have scans of no less than twenty- one of his articles from Vintage Roadscene magazine.
In 2016 came the first of two bookazines (A cross between a magazine and a book) On the Dust - A Pictorial History of Municipal Vehicle Development, and in 2020 the excellent SD – Shelvoke & Drewry (Vintage Roadscene Archive Volume 11). A comprehensive account of many aspects of the company, richly illustrated and giving insights into the management not easily available other than to Malcolm.
Then finally he is the owner of the ex-Folkestone Freighter KP 7670 restored to 1922 condition by the apprentices in 1968. Truly an SD Enthusiast!
Peter was in charge of refuse collection for the City of Belfast in Northern Ireland. On retirement he acquired McCreath Taylor N.I. Ltd – a company that had represented S&D in Ireland. Then, along with his son, David, he caught the collecting bug, and now has a fleet of some seven vehicles most of which have been beautifully restored with two remaining as future projects.
1959 Fore & Aft tipper.
Aled and Matthew Rees.
Brothers Aled and Matthew from Bristol have acquired a large number of refuse collection vehicles from various manufacturers with the intention of eventually creating a Refuse Collection Vehicle Museum. Included is the only ‘N’ series Revopak thought to exist in the U.K., an unusual 1963 T converted into a breakdown truck by the London Borough of Newham, three ‘P’ series Revopaks, a PY Maxipak, a Defiant fork truck and several other vehicles – some in a very sorry state. Once again preserving the SD story.
The Rees Brothers‘ 1974 NY Revopak.
Terry & Chris Prince.
Husband and wife Terry and Chris Prince are the owners of four ex-London Fire Brigade SPV pumps from 1979 & 1980. One is a pump escape with the remainder converted by the LFB to pump ladders. The majority of these have been beautifully restored by many hours of hard work by Terry, a fire appliance enthusiast since his school days.
Chris &Terry Prince with Pump Escape Reg. No. YHV 1187 T June 2022 at Gaydon.
Finally Macolm Easton, the grandson of James Drewry published a comprehensive biography of his grandfather in 2022.
All the above and many others continue to keep the name Shelvoke & Drewry before the public in the twenty-first century. A relatively small company, I would suggest, but one whose name is remembered for quality of build, ingenuity of design, and a long working life. Known to so many in the waste industry, but stretching far beyond that to an impressive War record, heavy duty fork lift trucks and many specialised vehicles.
Brian Carpenter. November 2023