Arthur Forwood

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Sir Arthur Bower Forwood, Bt
Arthur Bower Forwood Vanity Fair 16 August 1890.jpg
Forwood as caricatured by Liborio Prosperi in Vanity Fair, August 1890
Born (1836-06-23)23 June 1836
Edge Hill, Liverpool, England
Died 27 September 1898(1898-09-27) (aged 62)
Gateacre, Liverpool
Cause of death Colitis leading to heart failure
Nationality English
Education Liverpool Collegiate
Occupation Businessman, politician
Spouse(s) Lucy Crosfield
Mary Anne Eliza Baines
Children Dudley Baines Forwood
Parent(s) Thomas Brittain Forwood
Charlotte Bower
Relatives William Bower Forwood, brother

Sir Arthur Bower Forwood, 1st Baronet PC MP (23 June 1836 – 27 September 1898) was an English merchant, shipowner, and politician. He was a Conservative Member of Parliament from 1885 until his death, and in 1895 he was created a baronet.

Early life and business[edit]

Forwood was born in Edge Hill, Liverpool, the eldest son of Thomas Brittain Forwood, a merchant, and Charlotte née Bower, the daughter of a cotton broker. He was educated at Liverpool Collegiate and then joined the family business.[1] When his father retired from the business in 1862, he ran it with his younger brother, William. This was at a time when the cotton trade was being disrupted by the American Civil War. The brothers made a fortune "first from wartime speculation and blockade running, and then from exploiting telegraph and cotton futures". They set up offices in New York City, New Orleans and Bombay and ran a small fleet of ships that traded in the West Indies, Costa Rica and New York.[2]

Political life[edit]


Forwood's political life started in 1871 when he was elected as a city councillor. He served as Lord Mayor of Liverpool in 1878–79, and became effectively the leader of Liverpool's Conservatives. He stood for the Liverpool constituency in an 1882 by-election, but lost the Conservative held seat to the Liberal candidate. In the general election of 1885 Forwood was returned for Ormskirk, a seat he held until his death. In 1886 Lord Salisbury appointed him as Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty, a post he retained until 1892. He was the first shipowner to become an Admiralty minister.[1] In 1892 he was appointed as a privy councillor,[3] and was the first serving town councillor to be appointed to this position.[1] He was created a baronet in 1895.[4]

Policies and personality[edit]

Forwood was "orthodox, a resolute champion of the union and Empire, monarchy and church, Lords and Commons", he was concerned that the Conservative leaders were "too faint-hearted or stuck up", and was worried about the "timidity" of the Liverpool merchants. He supported the establishment of an episcopal see and a University College in Liverpool and, more generally, advocated universal suffrage, the redistribution of parliamentary seats, temperance reform, comprehensive employers' liability, old age pensions, council housing, public utilities and public transport. When he was a minister, he was described as being "a hustler" and as having drive as an administrator and reformer, but he did not have "the knack of making himself popular". His manner was described as being "unvarnished" and he was "short of the instincts of a Gentleman". Nevertheless, he was praised for his effectiveness and for his determination.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In 1858 Forwood married Lucy née Crosfield. She died in 1873 and the following year he married Mary Anne Eliza née Baines. Forwood died in September 1898 at his home, The Priory, Gateacre, Liverpool and was buried nearby in the graveyard of All Saints Church, Childwall. He had been suffering from colitis, and this led to heart failure. Forwood's estate amounted to a little over £87,320[1] (£8.93 million as of 2018).[5] His statue stands in St John's Gardens, Liverpool.[6]

Monument in St John's Gardens, Liverpool.
Plaque on Forwood's statue

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Waller, Philip (2004) 'Forwood, Sir Arthur Bower (1836-1898)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Retrieved on 25 December 2009. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ Killick, J. R. (2004) 'Forwood, Sir William Bower (1840-1928)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Retrieved on 25 December 2009. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  3. ^ "No. 26286". The London Gazette. 10 May 1892. p. 2702. 
  4. ^ "No. 26659". The London Gazette. 6 September 1895. p. 5031. 
  5. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 6, 2017. 
  6. ^ St John's Gardens, Liverpool City Council, retrieved 6 January 2010 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David (editors) (1990), Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, London: Macmillan, ISBN 978-0333388471 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ormskirk
Succeeded by
Arthur Stanley
Political offices
Preceded by
John Tomlinson Hibbert
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty
1886 – 1892
Succeeded by
Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of The Priory)
1895 – 1898
Succeeded by
Dudley Baines Forwood