Lives of the fellows

Gilbert Innes Strachan

b.7 August 1888 d.9 December 1963
CBE(1953) MB ChB Glasg(1910) MD Glasg(1913) Hon LLD Glasg(1954) MRCP(1916) FRCS(1921) FRCSE(1921) FCOG(1931) FRCP(1931)

Gilbert Strachan was born at Bristol, the youngest son of James Strachan, wholesale clothier, of Galashiels, and Agnes, daughter of David Todd, of Galashiels. He was educated at Glasgow High School, and after graduating at Glasgow in 1910 took house appointments in Glasgow and Bristol, and demonstrated in anatomy at Glasgow before serving in the 3rd Western General Hospital in the R.A.M.C.

From 1919 to 1921 he worked at Cardiff Royal Infirmary as pathologist on the Medical Research Council’s staff investigating placental pathology, and became lecturer in midwifery at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire. In 1921 he became first assistant to Sir Ewen J. Maclean in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology in the Welsh National School of Medicine and obstetrician and gynaecologist to several smaller hospitals in South Wales. He succeeded Maclean in the University chair in 1932.

He was a founder member of the British (later Royal) College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, served on its council and many of its committees for many years, and was its senior vice-president from 1952 to 1955. He worked with special interest in the B.M.A., of which he was vice-president in 1952 and a fellow in 1960, filling many divisional and committee posts. He was vice-chairman of the Board of Governors of the United Cardiff Hospitals, and chairman of its nursing committee from 1948 to 1954, chairman of the medical advisory committee of the Welsh Regional Hospital Board, and vice-president of the Medical Defence Union and a member of its council for many years. He examined for the Universities of Wales, Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford, and for the Conjoint Board.

In 1953 he was made a C.B.E, for ‘political and public services’. He was a staunch Conservative and took considerable interest in politics and in local affairs, especially the National Museum of Wales. He had a large collection of Spode and Chinese porcelain; the former was one of the finest in Great Britain.

Strachan was a colourful character, a prolific writer, a fluent lecturer and a stimulating teacher. His particular interests were the morbid anatomy of the placenta and the treatment of malignant disease of the genital tract, in which he was a pioneer in the use of radium. In 1947 he published his well-known Textbook of obstetrics. In 1920 he married Olive, only daughter of F. E. Andrews, a director of many Cardiff companies. They had one son.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1963, 2, 1594-5 (p); J. Obstet. Gynaec. Brit. Comm., 1964, 71, 313-14; Lancet, 1963, 2, 1337 (p); Times, 14 Dec. 1963.]

(Volume V, page 403)

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