Henry James Shedlock Heather studied at Balliol College, University of Oxford, where he obtained the degree Bachelor of Arts (BA). In November 1886 he also passed the preliminary examination for situations in the civil service. However, although he did not obtain a university degree in engineering, he qualified as an engineer and became an associate member (later a member) of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (in 1909), and a Fellow of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.
Heather came to the South African Republic (Transvaal) in 1894 and settled in the Barberton area. In 1900 a paper by him on "Electric-transmission plants at Moodie's, De Kaap goldfields, Transvaal" was published in the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. It was followed by "Line effects in long-distance transmission of power by electricity" in 1903/4, in the same journal.
By 1905 Heather had moved to the Witwatersrand and was a member of the Transvaal Institute of Mechanical Engineers, serving on its council for 1907/8 and 1909/10. He did much electrical engineering work on the Rand, and among others equipped the mines of Rand Mines and the Central Administration Group (later the Central Mining and Investment Corporation) to use purchased electricity. He again joined the latter corporation from 1908 to 1913 as electrical engineer and assistant to A.M. Robeson*. With Robeson he published "On the cost of power at mines of the Witwatersrand with reference to a proposed supply from a central source" (Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1907). Another paper by him dealt with "The driving of winding engines by induction motors" (Journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, 1911). He also delivered a series of 20 lectures at mines of the Witwatersrand, which were published as a book entitled Electrical engineering for mechanical and mining engineers (London, 1912, 332p).
In 1914 Heather was appointed professor of electrotechnics at the South African School of Mines and Technology (from 1921 the University of the Witwatersrand). He remained there until his retirement in December 1924. He produced one more paper during this period, on "Current and power factor in induction motors" (Transactions of the South African Institution of Engineers, 1913). He also reported on the Steenbras Water Scheme in the Western Cape in 1916.
Heather retired to Margate, in KwaZulu-Natal. He became a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in 1916. In 1927, he was appointed as commissioner of oaths. He married the widow Ethel Kate Wood (born Wilson) in 1904, but they had no children.