Gilbert Waterhouse was born on 15 July 1888 in Hipperholme, Yorkshire. The son of Harold Waterhouse of Tarleton, Lancs., Gilbert Waterhouse was educated at Pendleton Grammar School, the Wigan Institute, Pendleton Higher Elementary School and Manchester Grammar School. He studied at St John's College, Cambridge, and the University of Berlin, and, in 1910, was the first recipient of the Tiarks University German Scholarship, Cambridge. Waterhouse held an Assistant Lectureship in English at the University of Leipzig from 1911 to 1914.
Returning to England, he was Assistant Master at Manchester Grammar School from 1914 to 1915, thereafter Professor of German at the University of Dublin from 1915 to1932. From 1919 to 1925 he served as Administrator to the Government Scheme of Grants to ex-Service Students (Ireland) and, in 1920, as Secretary to the Royal Commission on the University of Dublin. He was appointed Professor of German at the Queen's University, Belfast in 1933, remaining there until 1953. He died on 25 July 1977. In 1920 he had married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Woods; they had three daughters.
His publications include: The Literary Relations of England and Germany in the Seventeenth Century (1914); ‘The War and the Study of German: a public lecture delivered in Trinity College, Dublin, on Tuesday, May 29th, 1917’ (1917); an edition of Franz Grillparzer’s: Weh' dem der lügt (1923); The Prince of Peace (1927); A Short History of German Literature (1928); Clara Viebig: The Sleeping Army [transl.] (1929); General von Seeckt: Thoughts of a Soldier [transl.] (1930); Simon van der Stel's Journal of his Expedition to Namaqualand (1685) (1932, supplement 1953).