WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

has a name

Heritage

G: Garside

Stan Garside

 


Another name long remembered by fans many years after the retirement of this all-action northerner from Huddersfield. 

From 1936 onwards Stan established himself as a very capable, skilful wrestler who was willing to mix it with the roughest of them all should the occasion demand. Looks could be deceptive, though, and in 1937 a newspaper reported that Garside “looked only a boy,” yet surprised his opponent.

Weighing around 13 stones opponents included the likes of Harry Rabin, Val Cerino, Fred Unwin, Bully Pye and most of the big names of the 1930s. He was a busy worker, not a regular main eventer, but in demand by promoters and popular with the fans; a man who brought credibility to the sport.

Stan was born in Huddersfield, and remained a Yorkshireman throughout his life, though wrestling often took him far away from God's Own Country as he travelled not just throughout Britain, but overseas.

Naturally Stan's wrestling career was severely curtailed during the Second World War when he was called up to the Army, serving overseas in India and Nigeria. There were occasional appearances when he was on leave but these were few and far between. 

Following the War Stan wrestled extensively in Singapore and Malaysia from December, 1945 until the summer of 1947. There was a lively wrestling scene in the Far East; with wrestling enthusiasts from all the services attending the open air tournaments at the Great World Amusement Park every Saturday night. Wrestlers from Europe and Asia battled it out, amongst them Jeff Conda (Count Bartelli), Jim Mellor, Kid Callon, Dara Singh and King Kong. With added experience and maturity Stan Garside stood out and was one of the best, regularly topping the bill.
The Straits Times said of Stan, “Top-liner Stan Garside is as interesting character as you will meet in a day’s march. Bulky and colourful, he is a colourful character in the old tradition. He hails from Yorkshire and stands a very good chance of becoming Malayan heavyweight champion.”

In April, 1946, Stan held champion Jeff Conda to a ten round draw in a bout for the South East Asia title when both wrestlers failed to score a fall. 

The following month the Indian Dara Singh challenged Stan to a ten round fight. Stan accepted the challenge and defeated Singh, who was disqualified in the fourth round. With two victories over Singh (by disqualification) Stan accepted a third challenge. No disqualification this time. The Malaya Tribune described Stan’s display as “savage” as he tore into Singh until the referee stopped the match and declared Stan the winner in the third round.

In the summer of 1947 Stan returned to Britain, and in July we find him at Belle Vue, Manchester, with Dan Davey as his opponent. By now he was more muscular, had increased his weight by a few pounds and was billed as a light heavyweight.

Wrestling was beginning to change when Stan returned to Britain. The more unsavoury aspects of 1930s wrestling were gradually being replaced with a faster style based on the newly introduced Lord Mountevans rules. 

Fortunately Stan had the ability to adjust to the new style and was regularly booked to wrestle stars of the new age, men like Mike Marino, Billy Joyce, Norman Walsh and Lew Roseby.  In September, 1949 it was reported that “Stan Garside,all-round athlete, star runner, boxer, sculling and fencing …. since taking to free-style wrestling has lost only six matches out of 75.”  As always, such a claim cannot be verified, but is an indication of the high regard in which he was held.

In April, 1948 he broke a bone in his leg during a match with Bulldog Bill Garnon and remained out of action until the end of July.

Away from the ring Stan was also an adviser to the makers of the George Formby film, Trouble Brewing, and acted as a stunt man in a number of films.. 

By the early 1950s age was beginning to tell, and Stan took to the slightly more sedentary role of refereeing. A supplementary income gradually became his main income as Stan bought a string of hotels in Huddersfield which included The Swan near the railway station where he regularly received  famous guests. Eventually Stan and his wife, Ann, moved to Gatehouse of Fleet, on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries and Galloway, South west Scotland. Stan and Ann bought and ran the Bayhorse Antiques shop which they ran for quite a few years.

Stan Garside died in 2005.