James Watt was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh. He did not study at university, but rather qualified as a solicitor while working in the office of Messrs Mill & Bonar. He was appointed as personal clerk to Mr John Blair, of Messrs Davidson & Syme, W.S. in 1889. In 1891 he was apprenticed as a Writer to the Signet, being admitted to the Society of Writers to the Signet in 1896. He became a senior partner in Messrs Davidson & Syme in 1912.
James Watt married Menie Jamieson (born in Glasgow in about 1872) in 1899; they had one daughter, Jessie and four sons. Menie was a daughter of the Rev. W C E Jamieson of the Tron Church, Edinburgh. She died in 1957.
Watt was a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries, a member of the Scottish Meteorological Society, and a fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society which he serve as Vice-President. In session 47 of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, namely session 1928-29, he joined the Society. He was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 20 February 1911, his proposers being James Campbell Dewar, Charles Scott Dickson (Lord Dickson), Sir James Dewar, A Crum Brown. He served on the Council from 1924 to 1946, was Treasurer for eleven years from 1926 to 1937, an was Vice-President from 1937 to 1940, then again from 1941 to 1944.
An obituary, written by E M Wedderburn, appears in the Royal Society of Edinburgh Year Book 1947, pages 36-37.
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Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson