Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Railway engineer. William Galwey was born in Derry City on 12 July 1828, the eldest surviving son of the Rev. Charles Galwey, afterwards rector of Moville, Co. Donegal, and Archdeacon of Derry, by his wife Honoria, daughter of Andrew Knox of Prehen, Co. Derry. He was educated by his father until he was fourteen, when he was sent first to Foyle College, Derry, and then to Dungannon Royal School. He attended the School of Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin, obtaining the Diploma of Civil Engineering in November 1849.(1) In 1852-53 he served an eighteen-month pupilage with HENRY GREENE HENRY GREENE , during which time he was employed on the construction of the Londonderry & Enniskillen Railway. On the completion of his pupilage he went to India to work under Col. J. Pitt Kennedy for the Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway Company, returning to Ireland in 1858.

For the next thirteen years Galwey worked in Ireland. From 1858 until 1859 he was engineer-in-chief on the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company and at the same time engineer of the Londonderry & Coleraine Railway and of the Lough Foyle & Lough Swilly Reclamations. He was next contractor's agent for Alexander T. Gordon for four years until the end of 1863, during which time he was in charge of the construction of the Dungannon & Omagh railway and other engineering undertakings, mainly those for which GEORGE WILLOUGHBY HEMANS  GEORGE WILLOUGHBY HEMANS was engineer-in-chief. From 1863 until 1870 he was in private practice. In 1864 and 1865 he was engineer with Hemans of the Kilrush & Kilkee railway.(2)

Galwey went abroad again in 1871, when he was appointed Chief Locomotive Superintendent on the Japanese railways and subsequently resident engineer. He remained in the latter post until March 1875 when he was obliged to resign on account of his health. He returned to Ireland in the same year, and in 1876 emigrated with his family to New Zealand in the vain hope that the sea journey and the climate of the colony would restore his health. He died on 16 September 1876, a few months after his arrival. He had married in 1855 Eleanor, youngest daughter of Joshua Minnitt, of Annaghbeg, Co. Tipperary, by whom he had three sons and four daughters. His pupils and assistants included his brother CHARLES RICHARD GALWEY.  CHARLES RICHARD GALWEY.

Inst. CE: elected member, 7 Mar 1875.


All information in this entry is from the obituary of Galwey in Proc. Min. Inst.CE 49 (1876-77), 259-261, and from Burke's Irish Family Records (1976), 467.

(1) Ronald C. Cox, Trinity College School of Engineering: 'Graduates' in Engineering 1843-1993, gives the date as 1850; another William Galwey was awarded the Diploma in 1857, perhaps William St John Galwey (1833-91), a railway engineer in India (see Burke's Irish Family Records, loc. cit. above).
(2) Jones transcripts from Thom's Directories, sub Kilrush & Kilkee Railway.