Alfred Galabin was born in Camberwell, the son of a civil servant, Thomas Galabin, who came of an old Huguenot family, and his wife Margaret Woods of Bishop’s Teignton, Devon. His education took place at Marlborough and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated, with a double first in classics and mathematics, in 1866, received the Wrangham gold medal, and was elected to a Fellowship in 1868. Guy’s was his medical school, and, after proceeding to his M.B. degree in 1872, he obtained house appointments there and was duly elected to the staff as assistant obstetric physician in 1875, becoming obstetric physician nine years later. He was appointed lecturer on clinical midwifery in 1874, on diseases of women in 1876, and on midwifery in 1887. Galabin was also assistant physician to the Hospital for Sick Children, for some ten years. He examined for the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and New Zealand and in 1889 held office as president of the Obstetrical and Hunterian Societies.
Galabin was remembered chiefly for his authorship of two standard textbooks, a Student's Guide to the Diseases of Women (1879), which achieved a sixth edition in 1903, and a Manual of Midwifery (1886), whose seventh edition, written in collaboration with G. F. Blacker, appeared in 1910 with the title The Practice of Midwifery. But he also exerted a powerful influence on midwifery, by bringing within the obstetrician’s province operations on the uterus and ovaries, previously regarded as the monopoly of the surgeon; and he was himself a brilliant operator. Galabin’s hobbies were chess and gardening; and in spite of a frail physique he also enjoyed travelling and walking in the Alps. He married in 1874 Harriet Mignon, daughter of Rev. H. G. Baily, incumbent of Swindon, and had one daughter. He died at Bishop’s Teignton, having left the active staff of Guy’s in 1903 and retired finally in 1909.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1913; B.M.J., 1913; Al.Cantab., iii, 3]