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Biographical entry Tubby, Alfred Herbert (1862 - 1930)

CMG 1916; CB 1918; MRCS July 29th 1884; FRCS June 9th 1887; LRCP 1886; MB Lond (Gold Medal in Medicine) 1887; BS (Gold Medal in Surgery) 1887; MS 1890.

23 May 1862
23 February 1930
Orthopaedic surgeon


Born on May 23rd, 1862, of a South Country yeoman stock, the son of Alfred Tubby, a corn merchant living in Great Titchfield Street, London, and his wife, Frances Roe. His father died a few months after his birth, and he received his early education at Christ's Hospital (the Bluecoat School), then situated in Newgate Street, EC; to this School he was subsequently Surgeon and an Almoner. At Guy's Hospital he distinguished himself as a Prizeman, and at the University of London he won the Gold Medal in medicine and gained honours in forensic medicine, anatomy, and materia medica at the MB examinations, the Gold Medal in surgery in 1887, and graduated MS in 1890.

He studied at Halle and Leipzig, the results of his German training perhaps being shown in the interest which he afterwards took in the treatment of the paralyses following anterior poliomyelitis. Oskar Vulpius, of Heidelberg, in 1897 advocated the treatment of these paralyses by means of tendon transplantation, and the first book written by Tubby in collaboration with (Sir) Robert Jones appeared in 1903, entitled Modern Methods in the Surgery of Paralysis.

He became Surgeon to the Evelina Hospital and to the National Orthopaedic Hospital (which was incorporated as the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital) in 1891, and in 1894 was elected Assistant Surgeon to Westminster Hospital, becoming Surgeon in 1898. Here he was placed in charge of the Orthopaedic Department, was Lecturer on Clinical and Orthopaedic Surgery, and served as Dean of the Medical School. He also held the post of Consulting Surgeon to the Hospital for Diseases of the Hip at Sevenoaks.

He was the first Secretary in London of the British Orthopaedic Society in 1894, which comprised a small but active body of surgeons and did good work in organizing orthopaedic surgery until it was replaced in 1918 by the British Orthopaedic Association. In 1901, in conjunction with Sydney Stephenson, he was a founder of the Society for the Study of Disease in Children. At the British Medical Association he was Secretary of the Section of Diseases of Children at the Portsmouth Meeting in 1899, President of the same section at Exeter in 1907, and of the Joint Section of Orthopaedics and Diseases of Children at Newcastle upon-Tyne in 1921. In 1912 he was President of the Hunterian Society, and as Orator took the Surgery of Paralysis as his subject. He had considerable legal experience and acted as assessor in surgical cases. In 1912, too, he served as President of the Section of Diseases of Children at the Royal Society of Medicine.

Tubby received a commission as Major in the RAMC when the Territorial Force was formed in 1908, and was called up on the outbreak of war in 1914 with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel attached to the 4th London General Hospital. In 1915 he was seconded for service as Consulting Surgeon to the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force with the temporary rank of Colonel AMS, but was soon transferred to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, remaining at Alexandria until 1919. For his services he was thrice mentioned in dispatches, and was decorated CMG in 1916 and CB in 1918. He found time in 1916 to make some archaeological discoveries at Chatby, near Alexandria, of which he published an account in the Egyptian Gazette. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on March 6th, 1924. He died at Hastings on Feb 23rd, 1930, survived by Beatrice, the second daughter of William Payne, of the Chamber of London, whom he married in 1890, and one daughter.

Tubby was a man of many interests. He was a surgeon who did much to make orthopaedics a speciality and to raise it above the mechanical period of its evolution. He was a good sportsman and shot deer and wild boars, an Alpine climber, an excellent linguist, and an archaeologist. As Prime Warden of the Ironmongers' Company he knew how to manage the business affairs of an important City Company and to dispense Civic hospitality with becoming eloquence. He was, too, loyal in friendship and a man of understanding. He was well known on the Continent and qualified himself to practise in Italy. He was the recipient of a Gold Medal of the 1st class from the Accademia Fisico-Chemica Italiana "for distinction in Science and the Humanities" on Feb 8th, 1915; and was also a corresponding member of the Aznerk3an Orthopaedic Association.

Deformities: a Treatise on Orthopaedic Surgery intended for Practitioners and Advanced Students, 8vo, 15 plates, London, 1896. This work soon became a standard text-book. The 2nd edition was entitled
Deformities, including Diseases of the Bones and Joints: a Text-book of Orthopaedic Surgery, 2 vols, 8vo, 70 plates, bibliographies, London, 1912. The 2nd edition was not only rearranged but was practically rewritten. It is profusely illustrated.
Appendicitis, 8vo, London, 1900.
Clinical Lectures on the Various Forms of Infra-abdominal Suppuration, 8vo, London, 1901.
Modern Methods in the Surgery of Paralysis, etc. (with R JONES), 8vo, London, 1903.
"The Advance of Orthopaedic Surgery," 8vo, London, 1924; lectures reprinted from Clinical Jour, 1924, liii, 481, etc.
A Consulting Surgeon in the Near East, 8vo, London, 1921.
"Reminiscences of Chamois Hunting." - Alpine Journal.
Article on "Chamois Hunting" in British Sports and Sportsmen.
"Excavations at Chatby." - Bull de la Soc d'Archéol.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1930, i, 485, with portrait. Brit Med Jour, 1930, i, 419, with portrait. The Times, 1930, Feb 26, with portrait - a good likeness. Trans Brit Orthop Soc, 1894-5, i, 1. Personal knowledge. Additional information kindly given by Mrs Tubby and Wm Spencer Payne, Esq, his Secretary].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England