Page 5.   SD Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Winter 2018.

Fifteen Years Ago in the Magazine Winter 2003

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


The 'W' type Fore & Aft tipper.

When I visited the Chief Health Inspector of Torrington R.D.C. I was told that the largest vehicle they could use in the narrow Devon lanes was a 7 cu. yd. Karrier Bantam. So I quoted for a ‘W’ type Fore & Aft tipper with an 8ft wheelbase, which, fitted with a Power Press, had a capacity of 12 cu. yds. This would produce twice the load of a 7 cu. yd. vehicle. Our bid was successful and the machine was duly delivered.

When I visited a few weeks after delivery the Health Inspector told me: “We’re very disappointed the new vehicle isn’t doing any better than the old Karrier side loader.”  Unable to believe this I asked to see the 7 cu. yd. side loader. It turned out to be a Karrier Gamecock with a 14 cu. yd. Derby type four bay body. This had high type sliding shutters. This, of course, explained everything, the capacity of the Karrier was twice as much as I’d been told.

I phoned Basil Barber, S & D’s Sales Director, and he agreed we should take back the small vehicle and replace it with the much larger 16/18 cu. yd. Fore & Aft body with Power Press to give about 24 cu. yd capacity. The only extra charge to Torrington R.D. C. was the cost of re-painting the small vehicle when it was sold to another customer. This typical approach to customer’s problems gained S & D a reputation that made selling a lot easier.

Colin Humble.
Former Sales Manager for the South-West area.

John Harvey-Jones “Trouble Shooter 2” Penguin Books 1992.

"I love factories. A visit to a well run works with modern equipment, and a well motivated workforce creating wealth before your eyes is, to me, both a thing of beauty and a source of real pleasure.”

“There needs to be a much greater appreciation of the people who make their lives in this most testing and demanding way.”


Wayne Abbott from Sheffield sent the following in October by e-mail:-

I recently came across your website & found it to be very interesting. I didn’t realise how many people would be as interested as myself, in what I consider to be one of the finest manufacturers of specialist equipment.

I own a 1957 S&D Freightlifter model 18/82 which was purchased by my late father & has worked reliably since 1969 for our family business. It is a true testimony to the superb design & robust construction that in June 2002, even though it was still doing its job, I decided to strip the truck & begin a total rebuild. It is now nearing completion apart from a few minor details, however a couple of components are causing a few headaches. To your knowledge do any breaker’s yards which specialise in S&D equipment exist, as I’m certain that many of these machines will have been broken up for scrap?

I will gladly send you some pictures of the truck once I’ve obtained a scanner. I also possess the original owners handbook & a full file of drawings with parts list, which must be somewhat of a rarity. My truck also has the optional crane jib attachment, which over the years I have never seen on another truck. I’ve found 5 similar trucks in my local area of Sheffield, 2 of them being the 18/100 model. I look forward to hearing from you as I’m particularly interested in S&D history, especially the Defiant range.

Yours sincerely Wayne Abbott.

Wayne Abbott's Freightlifter Model 82 which sadly a few years later was damaged beyond repair.

An SD Customer Remembers.

Dear Brian,

I was with Hemel Hempstead Council (later called Dacorum) for 33 years, first as a fitter, and then with promotion all the way up to the Transport Manager’s job, until I retired in November last year.

One of my first experiences of  S&D vehicles was when I first started with the Council. I was called out to a “stuck vehicle” on an open tip face at Wheathamstead tip. And what a surprise I got, when I arrived there. The vehicle was a very small dustcart (a TN chassis), I think. The driver had put the body up to tip the load, and the weight of the hopper, which was full of refuse, had pulled the whole front of the vehicle off the ground. It was just sitting there on the hopper, ready for take off! Ha! Ha! “Thunderbirds are go!” sprung to mind. But the driver didn’t see the funny side though. He was given a lift back down with the loading shovel. Them were the days, eh?

My relationship with S&D just got better and better from that day onwards, which was always a happy one. I was very much involved with the service, spares and sales departments over the first 17 years, and then for the remaining years, only the sales side. On reading issue 2 of the magazine I recognised a few old names, plus a few I thought about myself. I remember Basil Barber, John Dean, who I worked with when he worked at Muniserve, Mick Parish, Mick Spooner, and Graham Lambert.

I was a very happy customer of S&D for twenty four years.

All the best for the future.
Tony Graddon, Houghton Regis.

An SD Apprentice Remembers.

Dear Brian

My name is Bob Bowker. do you recall the name?. In 1953 I started my apprenticeship at S & D in Letchworth. I remember the day, I think it was August or September. On the same day Geoff Lovat started his apprenticeship and he and I got to know each other pretty well. He got up to some of the daftest things, like when he was taking his driving test the steering wheel came off in his hands. The tester had him stop the car and he walked back to his office. [Due to fuel shortages for a time on a temporary basis learners could drive without a qualified driver with them. Ed.]

Needless to say Geof failed the test.

Do I remember you? Well yes and no. I had an Austin Seven ( I also rode a BSA) which I parked at the back of the factory and I think you also had an old car which you parked there also. Was it a Rover or the like?

I picked up your web site on S & D sometime ago and have only just got round to putting something down to send to you.

I could probably go on and on but let me tell you a little of how I got to South Wales where I have lived since the early seventies.

I finished my apprenticeship working for Bob Edlin in the J & T office. Stan Quin was then the Production Manager and had his office there.

I had itchy feet and left in about 1960 joining a company in Hitchin selling Tumbling equipment. It didn't last and I asked for my job back. There not being one in my old job I was offered one as an assistant to Basil Barber, the then Sales Manager. Jack Wilkinson was the Sales Director.I found it interesting but very constricting particularly as it was very formal with no christian names used. Always Mr Barber.The money wasn't too good either and as I had married I again left joining a contract drawing office in Hitchin where my wife worked as a tracer.I did some J & T work and was on a contract for English Electric when I was made redundant so again I asked if I could have my job back at S & D. Not the same job but on the board in the design office. Tom Tillson was the Chief Engineer. Here again I met up with Geoff Lovat, Jack Rowe, Tony Bottomley and others I had known previously.

I was quite happy there but again I wanted a change as I thought drafting would lead nowhere in particular I started a course in Production Engineering and Industrial Engineering. Soon after I joined Borg Warner which was on the up and up and eventually moved with them to Kenfig here in South Wales. Again shortly afterwards I moved on - but that’s another story.

I'm retired now and I live in the same house to which I moved 30 years ago.

I could go on and on but I think that’s probably enough for now.

I haven't kept in touch with anybody, yet I often look back to those days. They were physically hard but I also enjoyed the work. The skill of each worker doing his own work unsupervised is something I recall with great pride.

Let me ask if you are in contact with other ex apprentices and could there be a reunion if there was sufficient numbers?

I hope you may recall me better than I have you and let me know if you have other memories.

With best wishes

Bob Bowker

                                                        In 2011 Bob Bowker organised a reunion for former SD Apprentices which took place on 26th November at Letchworth Golf Club. Bob is pictured at that event with the late Stan Quin the former SD Managing Director

Finally, this advert appeared:-


Sunday 12th September 2004. 3.30 to 8.30 pm.


Buffet Supper - Preserved Vehicles - Licenced Bar - Memorabilia.

A chance to meet & talk.

Tickets and further details from the address below

£16 (Buffet cost £15)

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