Page 6.   SD Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Winter 2020

Merryweather – The Final Years.

In the November issue of Vintage Roadscene Ron Henderson wrote about the final years of the well-known fire engine builder. In March 1980 the company vacated its Greenwich Works and moved to a new factory in Ebbw Vale, Wales, taking advantage of grants available to encourage employment of former coal miners. The company secured an order for two Musketeer crash tenders on Shelvoke chassis powered by Rolls-Royce engines for Norwich Airport. I was pleased to find a photo of one of these.

This is a Johnathan Wade photo. Ref: 41921

MPW 220 V was seconded to the Royal Aerospace Establishment site at Farnborough during the 1992 Farnborough Airshow. By 1997 was based at Cranfield Airport in whose livery it is shown. Photo taken 12/09/1992 outside the fire station. The crash tender was last taxed until the end of June 2002.The second vehicle went to Derry airport.


Shaun Taylor found a video of the arrival in Poplar in April 1932 of a fleet of SD Freighters fitted with dustless shutters. The scene appears on the dust cover of Kaleidoscope of Shelvoke & Drewry and also as caption 62. The arrival of the Freighters marked the end of horse-drawn refuse collection in the Borough. Go to:-

Colin Humble Remembers.

The photo in the last issue of Barrie Woods demonstrating a TN Pakamatic in Barnstaple reminded Colin Humble, who was SD’s South West Area Sales Manager, in a telephone conversation with me that this demonstration resulted in an order from Barnstaple. This replaced a pre-war SD Freighter. The narrow roads had meant that Barnstaple couldn't find  anything to beat the Freighter in terms of width until the TN came along. Colin recalled that Managing Director, Morris Davenport, took a lot of persuading that a narrow version of the ‘T’ type chassis with a Pakamatic body was a sensible option, but eventually agreed to its introduction. It was an immediate success as Councils in the West Country realised its advantages for use on the narrow country roads. It also proved popular for towns and cities that had very narrow roads running at the rear of properties.

A Bill Smith photo from about 1970 of production of a ‘T’ type cab fibreglass front panel.

The Type ‘T’ type utilised a fibreglass front panel and roof. Colin told me that he had been able to arrange through a Brighton Guy vehicles agent for Ernie Hill to visit Guy Motors at Wolverhampton. Ernie was a long serving SD employee and had been entrusted with exploring the possibilities of fibreglass panels for SD vehicles. Once Guy were satisfied that Ernie’s interest was genuine they couldn’t have been more helpful in showing him how the panels were made. Ernie stated on in Wolverhampton for a further three days and was allowed to work on producing the Guy panels. I find these little details so fascinating and am glad to be able to record them here.

SD Enthusiasts’ Club Facebook Group.

Membership of the Group has steadily grown to 429 of whom 321 are ”active members”. 96% of our members are male with a very welcome 4% female. Approximately 83% of our members are from the U.K. with 9% from Ireland, 3% from Malta, 3% from Hong Kong and 2% from the U.S.A.

A small but highly valued members regularly contribute photos and comments and I try to ensure that all photos have an explanation of the subject shown. The early days of “Lock Down” showed an upsurge in postings and things have now returned to their previous level The Facebook Group has uncovered many new aspects of the company. We have managed to avoid the unpleasant postings that can detract from the interest of some Facebook Groups.

I have been grateful for the rich variety of photos that have been posted an have a stock of at least thirty photos which I wish to include in future Newsletters. The one below shows a mixture of TW and W type Fore & Aft tippers at White crook, Clydebank apparently ready for a day’s work and was posted by Brian Jones.

The December 2020 issue of Vintage Roadscene, which is now on sale, carries the second part of Malcolm Bates’ account of Shelvoke & Drewry. Part One was in the August issue. Over five pages Malcolm recounts the story of the formation of the Special Purpose Vehicles Division (SPV) and the part he played in its development, along with the struggle to give the SPV’s a corporate identity.

I hope you’ve noted Gaydon Saturday 11th June 2022 and Sunday 12th June 2022 for a Grand Display of SD Vehicles to celebrate SD’s Centenary.

Details of a celebration in Letchworth will follow in 2021.

To My Readers  

My best wishes 

for Christmas  

and the New Year


I had three articles ready to include in this issue that have had to be held over for future use.

Derek Coulson wrote about the years he spent servicing SD vehicles for Stockton Council.

Michael Waldock has written about working for Marshalls of Cambridge in the 1990’s preparing vehicles for export to St. Lucia.

And Roger Morrisroe has told us about his experience of SD Freightlifters whist doing his National Service with the R.A.F.

My apologies to these three correspondents and I’m sure you’ll enjoy their memories in future issues of the Newsletter.


The publication of this quarterly Newsletter is only possible through the generosity of many people in providing material to your Editor. For this issue I want to thank Tom Colville, Mike Mullarkey and Barrie Woods for substantial articles, not forgetting Colin Humble who provided a couple of good stories when speaking with him on the phone, and Shaun Taylor for a link to a historic video.

I also have to thank the following for providing photos shown in this issue :- Malcolm Bates, Roger Morrisroe, Aled Rees, Roy Rudge,n Bill Smith, Tom Colville, Josh Tidy ( The Garden City Collection ), Michael Cooper, Campbell Spence,Eric Voytko (Classic Refuse Trucks ), Johnathan Wade and Brian Jones.

Brian Carpenter - Editor

The Shelvoke & Drewry Enthusiasts’ Club Newsletter is published four times a year on 1st March, 1st June, 1st September and 1st December. Items for inclusion may be e-mailed to me at: pinnerboy[at]

Next Issue :- 1st March 2021 Spring Issue.

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