Main content start
decoration image




Sidney Edward Thomas CUSDIN

Doctor of Science
honoris causa

Judging from his precocity in matters architectural, Sidney Edward Thomas CUSDIN was, in all probability, born with a T-square in one hand and a set square in the other, for at the very early age of ten he was awarded a prize in a competition for the best design for "a Villa in the Victorian Gothic Style". It is not surprising therefore that at this early age he chose architecture as his profession, especially as his father was Master of the City of London Guild of Carpenters and Joiners, as was also his father before him.

Our graduand’s choice of profession was realised when in 1929 he became an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, of which he is now a Fellow. The next year he joined the well-known firm of London architects, Messrs. Stanley Hall, Easton, and Robertson, and thus was opened wide to him the door to success. While he and his associates have gained fame in many branches of architecture – they were for instance the architects for the largest building in the complex on the south bank of the Thames, the Shell Centre – Mr Cusdin has specialised in designs for buildings for academic institutions, and has won for himself well-merited fame as an international authority on buildings for schools, colleges, and universities. The Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London; buildings for the Department of Engineering and University Chemistry Laboratories at Cambridge; buildings for the Middlesex Hospital Medical School of the London University; and the Institute of Clinical Sciences building at the Queen’s University, Belfast, are some of the many academic buildings of distinction for which he is responsible. Although we may say that he has specialised in this type of work, it is by no means the only field in which he has earned his distinction: the British pavilions at the Brussels International Exhibition and at the Johannesburg Exhibition, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street, London, were designed by him; and many of us already have first-hand knowledge of his work from the part he played in the building of our own Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kowloon and the planning of the new University in Singapore.

All this distinguished work has won him such honours as the Henry Saxon Snell Prize and the Theakston Bequest, the Presidency of the Architectural Association, and the membership of both the RIBA Council and their Board of Architectural Education.

His professional life was, of course, interrupted by the last war, when he served throughout in the Royal Air Force, was mentioned twice in Despatches, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire.

He is in the Colony to advise this University how best to use the limited building sites we have available to us, to meet the demands of the community in the field of higher education.

So long and distinguished an association with building, and in especial with buildings for academic and other public purposes merits our recognition, and we take the opportunity of his presence in Hong Kong to recommend to you, Mr Chancellor, that we add to his other honours that of Doctor of Science honoris causa of this University.

Citation written and delivered by Dr Leo D'Almada e Castro, CBE, QC, BA, LLD, JP the Public Orator of the University.

decoration image