Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer and ironfounder, of Dublin. William Spence was born in Dublin of Scottish parents in 1837, his father having earlier moved to Dublin from Linlithgow.  He was apprenticed to James Haigh, engineer and millwright, of the Ardee Street Foundry, Dublin. In 1856 he and his three brothers, Alexander, Robert and George, set up in business as engineers and millwrights in Cork Street, Dublin. The firm, which manufactured machinery for breweries, distilleries, corn and flour mills, as well as steam engines and boilers and constructional ironwork, flourished and expanded and in due course moved to larger premises in Cork Street. In the early 1870s William Spence acquired the business from his brothers and carried it on until his death, when he was succeeded by his only son ARTHUR WILLIAM SPENCE.  ARTHUR WILLIAM SPENCE.

William Spence died of heart failure at his elder daughter's house in Rathgar on 25 July 1907 and was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery on 29 July at a ceremony attended by the chief officials of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland.(1)   His wife Marion Edgar Howison (d.1906), whom he married on 4 October 1880, was also the child of Scottish parents, William and Jane Edgar Howison of Pigeon Park, Gowran, Co. Kilkenny.  He was a member of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. He was also an elder of Ormond Quay Presbyterian church and was one of the founders of St Andrew's College, Dublin. His hobbies were gardening and golf.   His younger daughter, Evaline Marion, married HENRY JAMES LUNDY HENRY JAMES LUNDY , who designed the company's stand at the 1907 Dublin Exhibition.

ICEI: elected member, 1880.
RDS: member.
Institution of Mechanical Engineers: member.
GLFI: member of Prince Masons' Chapter, No. 9.(2)

Addresses:(3) 121-123 Cork Street, <=1858->=1863; 121-123 Cork Street and 105-109 Cork Street, 1869; 105-109 Cork Street, <=1874->=1896; 107-108 Cork Street, <=1899-1907.
Home: 109 Cork Street, <=1875->=1896; 67- 68 Brighton Square, Rathgar, <=1899 until death.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from ICEI membership applications, II, 77, from the account of Spence's life in TICEI 36 (1909), 2-3, from the biography in Modern Ireland. Men of the Period (London [1900]), 83, which is accompanied by a portrait photograph, and from Catherine Scuffil's short paper, '"Engines and iron":  William Spence; and Son Ltd. : a review of a Dublin industry' (2008) (copy in IAA).

(1) Notice of funeral in Irish Times, 30 Jul 1907 (courtesy of George Stuart).
(2) See note 1, above.
(3) From Thom's and Post Office directories.