Spence was born at Hull in 1783, and died in London in 1860. He was a prosperous businessman. Details of his schooling are not known, but he became interested in science at a Young age; he went on to become one of the fathers of British entomology (his Introduction to Entomology, co-written with William Kirby, went through several editions before his death). He came to London in 1812 to do research in the library of Sir Joseph banks. He lived at Exmouth, Devon from 1818–26, travelled in Italy from 1826–30, and then settled in London. In 1833 he contributed to the formation of the Entomological Society of London, and served as its president in 1847; he was also a fellow of the Linnean Society and of the Royal Society.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.