Sir William Bower Forwood (21 January 1840 – 23 March 1928) was an English merchant, shipowner and politician. He was a wealthy businessman and a local politician in Liverpool who raised money for the building of the Liverpool Overhead Railway, Liverpool Cathedral and The Royal Liverpool  Seaman's Orphanage Institution Newsham Park. This book gives a fascinating insight into the development of the shipping industry, from the 1850's through to the 1920's. It is illustrated with 22 plates by Samuel Walters.

Born at sea, the son of Miles Walters, a recognized marine artist, shipwright and seaman, Samuel Walters became one of the brightest and most enduring lights of the Liverpool School of marine art. Trained at the Liverpool Academy, Walters excelled in all facets of marine painting, but was most accomplished in ship portraiture.

Briefly setting up a studio in London with fellow marine artist William Huggins, he decided after two years to return to Liverpool to further his career. His timing was perfect as Liverpool soon became the magnet for the international shipping firms of the 19th Century and a major port of call for the great ships of the world.

Although he exhibited very accomplished harbor views and seascapes, it was in his portraits of the great ships that plied the world's seas that he would find fame and fortune. His finesse earned Walters a reputation as "the aristocrat of 19th Century British marine painters".

It is of interest how we came across this valuable document, printed in Liverpool in 1920 by Lee and Nightingale, 15 North John Street, later it arrived in The University Of Toronto in 1966, was later digitised in 2007 through funding from Bill Gates Microsoft Corporation. Part of the Initiative.

As part of his charitable work Sir William was President of the Seaman's Orphanage. William Forwood was treasurer of the executive committee responsible for raising money towards the building of Liverpool Cathedral at the beginning of the 20th century.  He took six weeks away from his other affairs and raised a total of £168,000 (£13.5 million as of 2011).

He served as Mayor of Liverpool for a second period between 10 January and 4 February 1903, and as High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1909.