G. H. Barlow, fourth son of Thomas William Barlow, vicar of Halberton, Devon, began his career as a midshipman in the Royal Navy. But his health compelled him to leave the sea and he decided to study medicine. He was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge, and proceeded from there to Edinburgh and Guy’s Hospital. He practised in Southwark and, after he had taken his M.D. degree, was appointed assistant physician and later, in 1843, full physician, to Guy’s. His other appointments were at the Surrey Dispensary and the Magdalen Hospital. At the Royal College of Physicians, he was Goulstonian Lecturer in 1844—on the subject of children’s diseases—and Censor. Barlow was the first editor of Guy's Hospital Reports and the author of a Manual of the Practice of Medicine (1856), which, although displaying considerable erudition, was neither dogmatic nor elementary enough to be useful to students. Such characteristics were typical of all his work. He was, in fact, better equipped for the role of research worker than that of teacher, as his excellent paper On the Inductive Method of Scientific Research as applied to Medicine shows. For, as a lecturer, too obscure for the majority of students, he was appreciated only by a small elite. And in diagnosis and treatment, his habit of considering every possibility made for hesitation and indecision. Barlow married Lydia, daughter of Stephen Babington, in 1839. He died at Sydenham.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1866; Medical Times and Gazette, 1866; Wilks and Bettany, 239; Al.Cantab., I, 156]