Civil engineer and architect, of Dublin and Waterford, active from the end of the 1860s until 1909. James Otway received the BA degree and Licence in Civil Engineering from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1868.(1) He then served a one-year pupilage at Inchicore, under ALEXANDER MCDONNELLALEXANDER MCDONNELL , locomotive engineer of the Great Southern & Western Railway, and spent the following two years - 1869 and 1870 - in the office of JOHN BOWERJOHN BOWER , working on drainage and other schemes. In 1870 he became an assistant engineer on the Dublin Main Drainage under PARKE NEVILLE. PARKE NEVILLE.
Otway spent a large part of his career in Co. Waterford, moving there in 1874 to work for TRAVERS HARTLEY FALKINER TRAVERS HARTLEY FALKINER and his partner Sir Thomas Tancred, contractors for the Lismore to Dungarvan section of the Waterford, Dungarvan & Lismore Railway. From 1875 to 1876 he was in charge of the construction of the Waterford waterworks, also under Falkiner. He was appointed engineer of the Waterford & Tramore Railway in 1877 and of the Waterford, Dungarvan & Lismore Railway in 1878. He was also engineer to the Waterford Harbour Board from the late 1870s until 1898 or 1899, to the Waterford Lunatic Asylum during the 1890s,(2) and to the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbours Co., circa 1900.(3)
From circa 1875 until circa 1883 Otway was in partnership with ROBERT WATT ROBERT WATT of Belfast, with whom he designed at least two country houses and entered the competition for the Holy Ghost Hospital in Waterford. Otway and Watt exhibited 'architectural drawings' at the Cork Industrial Exhibition of 1883.(4) In 1879 he collaborated with CHARLES RICHARD GALWEY CHARLES RICHARD GALWEY of Waterford in preparing proposals for a bridge to replace Lemuel Cox's wooden bridge over the River Suir at Waterford, and later, in 1893 he prepared another proposal for a new bridge.(5)
After some twenty years or more in Waterford, Otway returned to Dublin. By 1900 he was again working for the Great Southern & Western Railway at Inchicore. He retired in 1909. His pupils and assistants included JAMES HERON JAMES HERON  , DAVID MEGAWDAVID MEGAW , WILLIAM FRIEL WILLIAM FRIEL and JOHN FRANCIS SIDES. JOHN FRANCIS SIDES.
ICEI: elected member, 1882;(6) reads paper on 'The Port and Harbour of Waterford', 13 January 1886,(7) for which he was awarded the Smith Premium;(8) no longer a member in 1896. Inst.CE: elected member, 6 February 1883. RIAI: elected associate, 17 March 1870;(9) resigned, January 1871;(10) elected member, November 1878, but membership cancelled because he did not pay his subscription.(11)