F: Fisher Brothers
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
London's East End is known for close knit family communities and one of those was the fighting Fishers who hailed from Poplar. It is Charles Fisher Sr., a ship builder born in 1878, and his wife Susan, to whom we owe our gratitude for parenting the seven Fisher brothers.
Many Heritage readers will remember Arthur and Charlie, a couple of rumbustious light heavies who were still setting the wrestling rings afire in the first half of the 1960s. In the rings of London the Fishers were very popular with fans and wrestled within the rules.
Elsewhere they were not exactly villains but they were tough and rugged wrestlers who more or less stayed inside the rules; hard men who gave no quarter and it wasn't unknown to find themselves admonished by the referee. The brothers had a boxing background before making money in the wrestling rings, and another thing they had in common was use of the name Sparks at the start of their careers.
Arthur was born on 31st January, 1918, the second youngest of seven brothers he was preceded by Len, Bert, Charlie, Stan, and Eddie,
When war broke out, in 1939, Arthur was working as a lorry driver, still a single man living at home. We find him wrestling under the name Arthur Sparks in 1938, a promising start but as for many others it was a career interrupted by the outbreak of war. During the war Arthur and his other brothers worked in a reserved occupation repairing warships at the dry dock on the Isle of Dogs London.
Reports from 1944 state that Arthur was a promising and skilful lightweight, whilst by the end of the decade he is matched with experienced men and firmly placed in the middleweight division. Most of Arthur's matches were in the south of England where he wrestled for most of his career. Never a top of the bill wrestler Arthur was a regular worker for a quarter of a century and fans have fond memories of his rugged, value for money style in both singles matches and as tag partner of brother Charlie.
Although Combat magazine of July 1948 listed Bert as one of the wrestling Fisher brothers we can find no evidence of Bert’s wrestling career. We include him here for completeness of the seven siblings. Herbert Fisher was born in 1906, the second son of Charles and Susan. In the 1950s Bert emigrated to Australia, returning for short visits in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Probably the most prominent of the Fisher family, four years older than Arthur. Charlie Fisher was born shortly before the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914. He was wrestling in the All-In rings of Britain by the time he had reached his early twenties. One of the seven family Fisher brothers who started their sporting careers in a ring of a different kind, the boxing ring, and then turned to wrestling as the All In style became popular in the early 1930s.
Like the rest of the family Charlie was born in Poplar, but spent much of his life in Eltham, and was seen very much as a South London boy. A tough and rugged heavyweight, he usually just about stayed inside the rules. A report of a match in 1936 against Saxon Elliott tells us that after Charlie was disqualified he attacked the two seconds.
Following the Second World War Charlie was billed as British light heavyweight champion for a time. Charlie was one of the Fisher family who did enjoy travelling. In Britain he worked mainly in the south of England but he did travel overseas and worked on the Continent. After retiring from the ring in 1968 Charlie became a popular referee and Master of Ceremonies for Dale Martin promotions, and could often be seen officiating on television.
Another of the seven Fisher boys, Eddie was born on 17th July, 1916, wrestling by the mid 1930s and very active during the second half of the decade. In 1939 he was working as a welder at the Isle of Dogs dry dock, repairing ships during the Second World War.
Born in 1904 Len was the eldest of the Fisher brothers and boxed under the name Len Sparks before becoming a professional wrestler. Injuries sustained whilst boxing dogged his wrestling career. Middleweight Len was wrestling by 1933 but seems to have done little following the war. Away from the ring he worked as a butcher. He was serving as a referee by 1948 and was third man at Leyton Baths in the early 1960s.
Norman Fisher was born in Poplar, London, on 24th August, 1922. On leaving school Norman began working in a wireless shop where he was still working, aged 17 years at the outbreak of war. When war broke out he joined his older brothers repairing war ships in the dry dock at the Isle of Dogs. He went on to become the youngest qualified welder in the graving dock working on Lord Mountbatten’s ship “The Kelly” .amongst others.
Despite information to the contrary elsewhere we have it on good authority (from Norman’s son) that Norman did not wrestle although he often accompanied his brothers to their matches.
Another of the fighting Fishers Stanley was born in 1910. In 1939 he was working as a weighbridge clerk but with the outbreak of war he joined the army and served in the Grenadier Guards. He sustained injuries in a training accident which forced early retirement from wrestling. Stan went on to become a pub landlord in Essex.
Page revised 07/10/2019