Thomas Henry Fisher was born in 1879 at Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, close to the birthplace of D. H. Lawrence. He was the oldest of 3 brothers. At 14 years of age he became an apprentice to the Nottingham newspaper proprietors and printers T. Bailey Forman and Sons at the same time he was attending the Nottingham School of Art.
His first published work would seem to be cartoons for the Nottingham Football Post, in September 1904, signing himself as T. F. At this time he was having freelance work published under the name of THOMAS HENRY. He signed his pastel and watercolour works T. FISHER or T.H. FISHER.
In 1906 he married Gertrude Ellen Mensing from Cotgrave. They set up house in Plumtree, a neighbouring village on the outskirts of Nottingham. In 1911 their daughter, Marjorie, was born.
In 1913 Thomas Henry was frequently having cartoons published in the Punch magazine and by 1920 his art work, in various forms, was seen in many popular publications.
Great uncle Tom stated that he was amused by the antics of mischievious boys with freckles and unbrushed hair, an early typical character "Billy Smiff" can be seen in the 1917 cartoon drawing on the right. It is not too difficult to see the beginnings of the "William" image he created for Richmal Crompton 2 years later.
Thomas Henry invented the image of William for magazines in 1919, and the first Just William book in 1922. This eventually amounted to 33 issues in total.
In 1932 Gertrude died prematurely and a few years later he married his second wife Anne Bailey.
Throughout his career he sold his cartoon images to the vast picture postcard market.
As a child in the 1950's, I remember affectionately my great uncle Tom and his wife,
Anne and their lovely old cottage in Old Dalby, Leicestershire, where he had a four wheeled Roadman's caravan as a summer studio
in the Orchard. I found it extremely intriguing because it contained the paraphernalia of his work.
He smoked a pipe and showed me magic tricks with a handkerchief and matches and also enjoyed playing practical jokes on the adults for my entertainment. I remember him as a shy and gentle man who was always full of fun. He and my father were very good friends and through this friendship his influence now lives with me.
Great uncle Tom passed away in 1962 whilst still working on the illustrations for William and the Witch.