Alan Brews, one of London’s most distinguished obstetricians, was born in North Woolwich. His father was Richard Vincent Brews, a general practitioner; his mother, Editha Sarah Going Manifold, the daughter of a government employee. From the Merchant Taylors’ School he went to the London Hospital, where a distinguished undergraduate career was followed by residence in all the principal posts of the hospital up to that of obstetric and gynaecological tutor, which he held for five years in each of which he added an additional degree or higher diploma.
In 1931, at the age of twenty-nine, he joined the staff. He was to become senior obstetric surgeon to his parent hospital and to St. Margaret’s Hospital, Epping. Brews led a very busy life and enjoyed it. He was examiner to the Universities of London, Cambridge, Durham, Liverpool, Hong Kong and the West Indies, and to the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
For many years he served on the governing bodies of the London Hospital and of its medical school, and at the time of his death was curator of the museum and chairman of the pathology committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians. At the Royal Society of Medicine he was president of his section. His Hunterian and Blair Bell lectures were given on the subject on which he was a recognised authority: chorion carcinoma and hydatiform mole.
On the retirement of Sir Eardley Holland he took over the editorship of Eden and Holland’s Manual of obstetrics. To Brews obstetrics never seemed to present any problem; he operated with effortless skill, always at his best, and radiating his usual kindness and courtesy to the staff, when called to an emergency at night.
His teaching was superb, always in simple, direct language. His long, last illness brought great sorrow to his colleagues on the Court of the Society of Apothecaries; he had been appointed Master in August 1965, but was able to carry out only a few of the duties of his office.
In 1928 he married Gwyneth Grace, daughter of Joseph Dixie Churchill, a clerk in holy orders. They had one son.
Richard R Trail
[Brit.med.J., 1966, 1, 112-13 (p); J. Obstet. Gynaec. Brit. Comm., 1966, 73, 324-6; Lancet, 1966, 1, 102, 212; Times, 28 Dec. 1965.]