The Office of Mayor
The word 'Mayor' derives from the French 'Monsieur le Maire', which in turn derives from the Latin 'Major' meaning 'superior.' The first town to have a Mayor named as such was Thetford which established its mayorality in 1199. Other towns had office holders who occupied the same position, but were called 'Bailiff', or 'Portreeve', or 'Warden.' Until the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 the Mayor was in effect a legal dictator within his own Borough.
The 1835 Act restricted and regulated the legal position of the Mayor. He or she is however the official representative of the Crown in the Borough, second only to the Lord Lieutenant of the County. Blackburn petitioned the Queen in 1850 for a Charter of Incorporation.
Cotton made Blackburn and it's no surprise that those at the head of the industry became prominent in local politics. The election of the town's first Mayor was discussed at the first council meeting held on November 12th, 1851 and the honour fell to William Henry Hornby of Brookhouse Mills. He was succeeded by Robert Hopwood, Thomas Dugdale, William Hoole, William Pilkington and so on throughout the rest of the century, men, almost without exception, who were prominent in the cotton industry.
For information about the Mayor go to the following web page: