I’m about finished the complete restoration of an NH Ariel probably made in 1957 & sent by the Ariel factory to K.Witts of Southbroom Place& Sidmouth Parade, Devizes, Wiltshire, presumably the local Ariel agent, but only registered in 1959.
The first owner who sold it to me in about 1969, said it had been sitting unsold for a very long time at the back of the shop in Devizes & consequently he got it for a very good price. That appealed because at the time he was an impecunious post grad mech. engineering student as well as being in need of transport. That it was an Ariel was neither here or there. It was used to take him to college for three years & then when he graduated, he got a lecturer’s job in Queens University Belfast. He moved there taking the bike with him but immediately bought a car on his new salary so the NH sat at the back of a very damp garage for the seven years mouldering until all the chrome, etc. was gone, etc., at which time he advertised it & sold it for the princely sum of £15 to me, a very impecunious & mechanically ignorant undergrad student in need of transport.
I learned to ride very well on this machine because the front brake did not work at all – ever – and although I was too clueless to realise it at the time, the rear wheel bearings were completely shot and so the rear wheel castered. Applying the rear brake suddenly in an emergency resulted in the rear wheel coming round “to show the rider the tyre maker’s name” as they used to say and the bike would go down and slide along one of Belfast’s greasy, cold, wet, wintery streets, usually the Ormeau Rd, with the rider entangled in it. This hurt so I soon got very good at swiftly swinging the underneath leg over the seat as the NH started to go down so that I could sit unharmed on the fallen bike until it came eventually to a grinding halt. I had to learn to take extreme care, always to observe forward, never to speed recklessly and always, always plan an escape route when I could not brake in time which was often and so I survived.
Anyway, all that aside, idle curiosity compels me to enquire if anyone in the Club, say the Wiltshire Branch, remembers K. Witts, a motorcycle dealer in Southbroom Place & Sidmouth Parade, Devizes?
Looking at the location on Google Map, my guess is that it could have been the premises now occupied by Boards ‘n’ Bikes? What do you know?