Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||William Spence & Son |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||Before 1877 |
|Ended: ||After 1882 |
|Bio Notes: ||William Spence was born at Biggar, the son of John Spence, a shoemaker and Margaret Kean, but the date of his birth has still to be established. His obituary gives his age as sixty-five (i.e. born c.1817), the registration of death as seventy-seven (i.e. born c.1806). In his early life he entered the office of John Bryce of Glasgow who was born c.1805, suggesting the later date; but as he was in practice by at least 1837 it may be that the earlier date is correct. He may have been an assistant rather than a pupil of Bryce as Gildard's reference appears to suggest. It is possible that he spent his earlier years in William Burn or David Bryce's Castle Street office as the first large house with which Spence's name is associated, Coulter Mains, 1838, is markedly of the Burn & Bryce school. |
Spence made his name early as a theatre architect, and established a strong presence in Helensburgh when he was commissioned to prepare a feuing plan for the upper areas of the town in 1857. He also had what seems to have been a significant domestic practice in Ulster, but this remains somewhat elusive. His later commercial buildings - Stewart & MacDonalds in Buchanan Street and the Clydesdale, Dundee - have a refined Roman Corinthian treatment.
Spence married Margaret Field. She died on 9 June 1879. Spence died in Ardlui, Helensburgh on 22 June 1883 after a long illness during which period he was assisted by a son who had an independent practice at 187 St Vincent Street in 1876: this disappears when he seems to have returned to his father's practice which became William Spence & Son, shortly thereafter. Peter Smith alos appears to have been in the practice in 1880, giving the same address, 212 St Vincent Street.
William Spence's moveable estate amounted to £2414 8s 9d, but he probably owned significant heritable property.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|212, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||Before 1877||After 1881|| |
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
|The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|George Simpson||1879||1882||Apprentice|| |
|Henry Field Spence||Before 1879||1880||Partner|| |
|William Spence||Before 1879(?)||1880||Partner(?)|| |
Buildings and Designs
Currently, there are no references for this architectural practice. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.