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Biographical entry Martin, Christopher (1866 - 1933)

MRCS 12 November 1891; FRCS 10 December 1891; MB CM Edinburgh 1887.

20 November 1866
28 January 1933
General surgeon


Born 20 November 1866 at Stockton-on-Tees the elder son, in a family of three boys and one girl, of Christopher Martin, wharfinger, and Harriet, his wife. About 1876 he went to a Society of Friends' school at Sibford Ferris, near Banbury, in 1878 he was sent to friends at Redcar as his health was not good, and in 1880 he finished his schooling at the Middlesbrough High School. He then proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated with first-class honours in 1887. He served as house surgeon at the Royal Maternity Hospital, Edinburgh, and as demonstrator of anatomy at the Edinburgh School of Medicine. He came to Birmingham to join Lawson Tait, and in 1890 was appointed assistant surgeon to the Birmingham and Midland Women's Hospital, subsequently becoming surgeon and remaining attached to the institution for the rest of his life. He became consulting surgeon to the hospital in 1920 and was vice-chairman of the committee of management at the time of his death. Largely owing to his efforts a new hospital was built in 1904. He also served as assistant to the professor of gynaecology at Queen's College, Birmingham, and was chairman of the Taylor Memorial Home and the Gertrude Myers Home at Cleeve Prior, near Bidford-on-┬ČAvon in Warwickshire, where patients were sent during convalescence. During the war he served on the staff of the First Southern General Hospital with the rank of captain, RAMC(T).

He married in 1920 Dr Mary Clarke, a widow; she survived him but there were no children. He died on 28 January 1933 at 30 George Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham; his remains were cremated and the ashes buried at Branwood End, a suburb of Birmingham, near the Alcester Road. A bed was endowed in his memory at the Birmingham Women's Hospital. Martin early showed his ability. He graduated with first class honours before he was of the legal age of twenty-one, and won a travelling scholarship in diseases of women at Edinburgh before he was old enough to hold it. The scholarship went to the "proxime accessit", but the professor awarding it was so impressed by his ability and personality that he sent him to Germany for three months and paid the expenses. He was amongst the first to use radium in the treatment of cancer of the cervix, and did much to popularize abdominal hysterectomy.


Retention of the menses. Brit gynaec J 1901, 17, 228.
On pan-hysterectomy or total extirpation of the uterus. Edinb med J 1896, 41, 825.
Complication and treatment of myoma. Lancet, 1908, 1, 1603 and 1682.
Operative treatment of papilloma of female bladder. Bgham med Rev 1928, 3, 64.
Lawson Tait, the man and his work. Ibid 1931, 6, 109; an excellent critical account written from personal knowledge.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1933, 1, 279, with portrait; Brit med J 1933, 1, 206 and 295; Bgham med Rev 1933, 8, 1, with portrait; information given by Mrs Martin].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England