A NEW book detailing the rags to riches story of a 19th century Ayr man will soon be available.

Born in Ayr and orphaned by the age of 10, Victorian entrepreneur William Schaw Lindsay was brought up by his uncle then ran away to sea at the age of 16.

The new book "William Schaw Lindsay Victorian Entrepreneur", by Bill Lindsay, highlights William's life at sea starting as a cabin boy and ending up as a captain.

Exploits cover piracy, near-death experiences, and what life was like sailing across oceans in the 1830s.

Following his life at sea he became an agent selling coal for steam ships to shipping lines before setting up his shipping company in London and becoming a ships broker.

By the 1850s he owned one of the largest shipping companies in the world. He owned 22 ships, some of which were employed as troop transporters in the Crimean War before meeting some of the most interesting figures in the world at the time.

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Author Bill Lindsay said: "Lindsay had an astonishing life. Orphaned by the age of ten, he ran away to sea and faced many hardships. He then married the sister of the Lord Provost Robert Stewart in 1843.

"He started a partnership with him shipping pig iron from his works down to London.

"Later he had several ships built on the Clyde, notably the SS Robert Lowe by Scott and Co.

"During the American Civil War, Lindsay's partners built ships to run the blockade.

"His diaries are housed in the National Maritime Museum, and after six years transcribing his journals, the book is the result."

William Schaw Lindsay Victorian Entrepreneur will be published on July 15 and will be available online and in stores.