Basic Biographical Details

Name: James William Spence
Designation: Architect
Born: 30 March 1886
Died: 25 May 1941
Bio Notes: James William Spence was born on 30 March 1886 in Aberdeen and served his articles there in the office of Sutherland & Pirie from 1903 to 1907, studying at Grays School of Art. In 1908 he moved to London to join Robert Frank Atkinson as assistant. Two years later he emigrated to the USA, obtaining a position in the office of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue for one year before moving to Boston, Massachusetts. There he worked in unidentified offices until January 1913 when he joined William Welles Bosworth as assistant, becoming chief assistant after eighteen months. Whilst there he attended five summer courses at Harvard University School of Architecture.

He returned to England to join the armed forces in July 1916, continuing in active service until 1919. In 1920 he found employment as an assistant architect in France with the Imperial War Graves Commission.

He settled in Chelmsford, Essex in January 1925, being appointed assistant architect in the Essex County Council Architect's Department under the chief architect John Stuart, and later being promoted to the role of chief assistant on hospitals and sanatoria. He was a member of the Essex, Cambridge & Hertfordshire Society of Architects, being chairman of the Chelmsford Chapter in 1934 and 1935, and was admitted LRIBA on 6 December 1937, proposed by Stuart, Frederic Wykeham Chancellor of Chelmsford and London, and another.

He died on 25 May 1941.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2FranceBusiness19201924Working for Imperial War Graves Commission
Item 2 of 2111, London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, EnglandPrivate1937 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 7Sutherland & Pirie19031907Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Robert Frank Atkinson19081910Assistant 
Item 3 of 7Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue19101911Assistant 
Item 4 of 7William Welles BosworthJanuary 1913Mid 1914Assistant 
Item 5 of 7William Welles BosworthMid 1914Mid 1916Assistant 
Item 6 of 7Essex County Architect's DepartmentJanuary 1925Before 1937AssistantWorking under John Stuart, County Architect
Item 7 of 7Essex County Architect's Department1937 * Chief AssistantWorking under John Stuart, County Architect; engaged on hospitals, sanatoria etc.

* earliest date known from documented sources.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2Frederic Wykeham Chancellor6 December 1927for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 2John Stuart6 December 1927for Licentiateship


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder4 July 1941v161 p14 - obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L no4642 (combined box 26)
Item 2 of 2School of Architecture, Garthdee, Aberdeen, RGIT: former pupils, 1937-1970Galletly, James