Page 5. SD Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Summer 2021.
NEIGHBOURS IN LETCHWORTH.
The advertisement shown below appeared in the Commercial Motor magazine dated 1st May 1962 when Hands Trailers were still neighbours with works opposite those of Shelvoke & Drewry in Icknield Way. For the purposes of the advert an SD Freightlifter is shown on a Hands trailer. This replicates the Hands trailer that was hauled by a Commer TS3 as described in Barrie Woods’ article. The one in the advertisement appears to be coupled to a Bedford TK although it isn’t thought that SD ever operated this combination.
Malcolm Bates kindly sent in this advert. When James Drewry parted company with S&D in 1935 he moved to Hands Trailers as Joint Managing Director so there was a long standing link between the two companies.
An earlier Hands trailer had been purchased to be coupled to a specially designed SD ‘W’ type when SD commenced building the Freightlifter range of heavy duty fork lift trucks.
THE CLOUDS ARE GATHERING.
Twenty-eight years later on 21st June 1990 S&D again appeared in the pages of the Commercial Motor magazine.
At this time the SD workforce had shrunk from a high of over 1,000 people to just 194 and in June 1989 Krug International’s Dempster Division had announced that Shelvoke Dempster was for sale. Managing Director, Alan Harris, pictured below thought there was still a future for SD.
Along with fellow directors Allan Morris, Finance Director and John Gill, Operations Director Alan Harris organised a management buyout which was reported in Commercial Motor.
Alan Harris said:- “The possibility of a management buyout was brought within our range three to four weeks ago: We had not been involved with the negotiations at all until that point. We prepared our business plan very quickly as we wanted to complete in time to take advantage of the Institute of Wastes Management exhibition in Torbay where we announced the deal, and launched two new products."
It was envisaged that production could be maintained at 130 to 150 units per year and that it would take two years to break even with a return to profit in three years. SD was said to hold 20% of the waste disposal vehicle market in the U.K. Again a long way from the peak 60% achieved with the Revopak as the major product.
Sadly following another change of ownership the end of SD came in 1991. Thirty years ago this year.
A SECOND LIFE IN MALTA.
In the Maltese sunshine a PY Maxipak and a PY Revopak wait to be transported to Bristol in this photo by Aled Rees.
Aled has written about the export of SD’s to Malta as follows:-
N types as far as I know were mostly imported to Malta by the same
person at the same time. They were very reliable and easy to repair
so lasted out. The P types were imported for the same reason. The
Dennis dustcarts of the same age had fibreglass cabs and they didn’t
do very well in the heat of the summer.
I met the guy in Malta who said that before the government made a push to modernise refuse collection, most collections were by open cart or lorry. He remembered taking his first trip to the U.K. on a propeller aeroplane to buy a dustcart at auction and drive it back. Something he and others repeated many times until every refuse company had upgraded to modern dustcarts. Much like the upgrade to Dennis Elite 2’s that is happening in Malta at the moment.
Modernity Comes to Royston.
Malcolm Bates sent in a newspaper cutting from 1948.
The cutting reads:- After 30 years service the familiar horse drawn Royston dust cart will shortly be disappearing from the town. During this week it will be collecting its last 15 tons of refuse, a figure it has averaged since it was put on the road in 1912. In its place will be a 1948 model of the Shelvoke & Drewry 25 horse power refuse vehicle.
The new vehicle was delivered last Monday and will be put into operation in the first week of July. A three tonner the vehicle has a capacity of 11.3 cubic yards. The capacity of the horse drawn cart is 3 cubic yards. It is hoped that in future the work of collecting refuse in the town will only take 3 ½ days instead of a week.
A further photo shows a ‘W’ type with a Chelsea type body.
The cutting is a reminder that the use of horses persisted well after the end of the Second World War.
TWO SURVIVING SD VEHICLES.
This 1979 PN Revopak has passed to Aled & Matthew Rees in Bristol from Kevin Farrington in Workington, and is seen on arrival at its new home. It is one of a trio of PN’s that Peter Johnston rescued from the Isle of Man. It has been re-registered as WPD 620 V and joins the extensive collection of refuse collection vehicles.
This 1982 WY chassis/cab was offered for sale on Ebay. It was at the Fire Services Training College at Moreton in the Marsh.