Sir Sydney Castle Roberts (1887-1966)

Sir Sydney Roberts

Sir Sydney Castle Roberts was a British author, publisher and university administrator. He was a well-known and popular figure around Cambridge throughout his life, and was recognised as a publisher of skill and distinction.

Roberts was born in Birkenhead on 3 April 1887. He attended Brighton College and Pembroke College, Cambridge. During the first world war he served as a lieutenant in the Suffolk Regiment and was wounded in the Third Battle of Ypres. He was Secretary of Cambridge University Press from 1922 to 1948, Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge from 1948 to 1958, Vice-Chancellor of University of Cambridge from 1949 to 1951, and Chairman of the British Film Institute from 1952 to 1956. He was an author, publisher and biographer and a noted Sherlockian, being president of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. According to Jon Lellenberg, Roberts is responsible for the popularization of the Sherlockian game of criticism. He was knighted in 1958.

The National Portrait Gallery holds three photographic portraits of Roberts by Elliott & Fry, made in 1949.

Roberts was stepfather to Hugh Swann, cabinet maker to Queen Elizabeth II, and of Michael Swann, former chairman of the British Broadcasting Service [BBC].