ALFRED Nuttall was the family draper who became Blackburn’s wartime ‘First Citizen’ while also running a famous brewery and breeding horses.

He also fitted in a significant amount of globetrotting!

The colourful story of this resourceful man, who was his home town’s Mayor between November 1915 and August 1917 at the height of the First World War, has been researched for Blackburn Library’s Cotton Town local history website.

Born on the of May 28 1863 to Ellis and Ellen - the eldest child of four - he went into the long-established family drapery firm called Dickson and Nuttall on Church Street where they also lived.

Alfred was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School of which he later became a governor.

He married Sarah Troop in 1888.

Alfred speculated on some property in Little Harwood which included a brewery and re-named it the ‘Lion Brewery’.

In 1901 he added the Spring Vale Brewery in Darwen with 65 tied houses.

He closed it investing a further £10,000 in the Lion Brewery to keep up with demand and by then living in a substantial property called Northwood on Billinge End Road.

In 1893 he was elected to the Town Council as a Conservative for St. Stephen’s Ward, later representing St. Michael’s and then St. Silas’ Wards before becoming an Alderman.

He was chairman of the Gas Committee when on New Year’s Eve 1914 the workers came out on a strike that went on for seven weeks.

Alfred as leader of the town’s Conservative Party defeated the strikers who twice marched up Preston New Road with the police having to keep the demonstrators from his house.

When war broke out in August 1914, Alfred was one of the original members of the War Relief Committee and was elected Mayor in November 1915

At his installation as First Citizen of Blackburn, he was followed to the Parish Church by his two sons, both officers in the British Army.

Alfred was a great lover of horses and had a stud farm at Billington where he was a successful prize-winning breeder.

Alfred and his wife went round the world four times, each trip taking twelve months.

On the visit to Blackburn by King George V and Queen Mary in July 1913, he and his wife were presented to the Royal couple.

Alfred Nuttall became unwell and went to a nursing home in Harrogate where died on August 21 1917 aged 54 while still in office as Mayor.

Cotton Town records: “The news of his death was received with great sadness - flags were at half mast on numerous buildings. “