In 1774 Porden became a pupil of the architect James Wyatt. He afterwards was a pupil of S.P. Cockerell and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy.
Amongst his several commissions Porden is especially noted for his country houses and for his adept use of the Regency Gothic style. His most famous works include alterations carried out on the Brighton Pavillion, (1804-8) for the Prince of Wales where he was responsible for the stables (now called the Dome) and riding house, and on Easton Hall, Cheshire, (1804-12) for Robert, second Earl Grosvenor, which he remodelled and largely extended.
Porden died at 59 Berners Street, London, his home since 1796, on 14 September 1822. He was buried in St John's Wood chapel, London.
Colvin, Howard, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd edition (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 772-774.
National Archives, National Register of Archives, Person Details, 'Porden, William (1755-1822) Architect, GB/NNAF/P155204' [accessed 28 April 2008]
Tyack, Geoffrey, ‘Porden, William (bap. 1755, d. 1822)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) [accessed 28 April 2008]