Wigan, England

    Walker Brothers of Wigan manufactured refuse collection vehicles under the name Pagefield from around 1908 until the company closed in the late 1950s. Walker Brothers was founded in 1866 by John Walker who was aged 24 at that time. The company developed to produce a wide range of products which included coal cutting machinery, air compressors and fans. From 1890, railway locomotives were also built. Pagefield Motor Vehicles was formed in 1904, and 519 Pagefield 3-ton lorries were produced for the army during the First World War. The Walker family home was in Southport, which used a system of wheel-mounted refuse containers, which were winched onto horse-drawn carts for disposal at the refuse tip. At the tip, the loaded container was unloaded and an empty container replaced it, and was returned to another area where a gang of men were operating.

    The early Pagefield refuse collection vehicles were very narrow, and became popular with Councils where there were many narrow streets and back alleys to negotiate. Pagefield fitted their lorries with lifting frames to accommodate Southport's wheeled containers, and the frames were hydraulically tipped. The containers were hauled onto the frames by means of a winch, powered by a take-off from the engine's gearbox.

    Other Councils adopted similar methods of refuse collection, especially from blocks of flats. The above photo shows a Shelvoke & Drewry 'W' type lorry equipped to carry three wheeled containers for the London Borough of Chelsea.

    A further development of the container system of refuse collection was the use of cylindrical containers. Often these were placed at the bottom of as refuse chute at a block of flats so that residents no longer needed to carry refuse to the ground floor. Some of these containers were wheeled, whilst others had to be lifted by a hand drawn lifting trolley. In 1937, Pagefield introduced their Paladin model with a hydraulic lift to empty containers into the body.

    Again, the Shelvoke & Drewry 'W' type Fore & Aft tipper was adapted to handle these containers, which slightly confusingly, were also named Paladin, as well as the vehicle itself.

Paladin container is lifted on the hand trolley ready to be fitted to the rear of an SD Fore & Aft tipper for discharge.

As the Fore & Aft body is tipped forward, the contents of the container are discharged into the body.

The brief history of Paladin is taken from An Illustrated History of Dustcarts by Hinton J. Sherwyn published by Ian Allan Publishing in 2000 and based on a history of Walker Bros. by Tom Meadows.

Brian Carpenter was a Shelvoke & Drewry apprentice from 1953 to 1960, and was employed by the company until the autumn of 1962. He is the author of The Unofficial Shelvoke & Drewry Website, an informational site devoted to all things related to the company.

Pagefield Paladin bulk refuse collector tipping a bin, with transport trolley on street below

1946 Prodigy was Walker's entry for the barrier-loader market

Crew entered body using steps, emptying bins in front of a barrier inside body.
As the space was filled, the barrier was manually moved rearward until it reached back of body.
The filled body was emptied by tipping.

Advertisement for the Paladin System, now under the banner of Walkers & County Cars Ltd. as the result of a 1948 merger.

This advert shows the large cylindrical container being lifted (left), and two smaller bins together at right

A hand-loaded version sold as the Jekta mounted on a Thames chassis. Jekta was the trade name for Walker's telescopic body, which was also sold in open versions for hauling coal, dirt etc. The refuse version (shown above) featured a panel enclosure over the the mechanism, and was taller to accommodate bulkier refuse loads.

Inside views of the rear-loaded refuse collector illustrate the "telescopic" body principle, in which multiple sections collapse within each other,
the forward-most section having a vertical bulkhead. A hydraulic ram pushes the bulkhead section which progressively slides
into the rearmost sections, effecting ejection discharge.

In the opposite direction, the bulkhead could be positioned near the loading opening at the beginning of the route, and moved forward (towards the cab), dragging refuse into the body as the loading area became filled.

An alliance with Northern Coachbuilders produced the Walker-N.C.B. range of electric-powered refuse collection vehicles

A late-1950s SD T-type Fore & Aft tipper being coupled to a Paladin bin. The attachment features
a "dustless" shutter which prevents the body contents from escaping

Forward tipping of the entire body empties the bin, while also consolidating material towards the front end

Courtesy of Michel Ferro

Even after the demise of Walkers & County Cars Ltd. in 1966, the round bin continued to be a popular method of bulk refuse collection. The rights to the trade name "Paladin" for Walker's refuse collection truck and lift was acquired by Eagle Engineering. However, the name was eventually to become part of the vernacular to describe the round bins themselves. Devices for lifting these common containers were fitted to many other makes of refuse collection bodies.

© 2014 Brian Carpenter
All Rights Reserved

Logos shown are the trademarks of respective manufacturers
Photos from factory brochures/trade advertisements except as noted