William Miles Blackburn, Mayor of Newport 1909 - 1910

Photo reference number: 1353

(Photo and text from "Who's Who In Newport" 1920.)

Blackburn, William Miles was born at Bassaleg, Mon., in 1854. He is the son of Mr. Edward James Blackburn, and in 1S75 commenced business on his own account as a builder and contractor. He has carried out several of the street-front improvements in the town, including the Newport Arcade premises, High street, Tredegar Chambers, St. Stephen's Church, St. Michael's Church; this latter building, for the Roman Catholic community, has the largest ground floor seating accommodation of any town church. He built the new theatre, Charles street, for Mr. D. E. Humphreys, which has since been converted into a music hali. He also transformed the old Victoria Hall into a theatre for the late James Rowe (of the Queen's Hotel,) now known as the Lyceum. He also erected the Baptist Chapel, Alexandra road; the Bible Christian Chapel, Commercial road; together with the Friends' Meeting House, Charles street (for the late Alfred Bland). He re-built the King's Head Hotel, of which he is now the managing owner. He is an alderman of the Newport Town Council, having been first elected as a councillor in 1895. He was chosen as Mayor of this county borough in November, 1909, for the year following, and got through a busy term of office with marked success, he laid the foundation stone of the Higher Elementary School, Stow hill, on the site previously occupied by the old British School. In the absence of- the Right Hon. Viscount Tredegar he opened the New Technical Institute in Clarence place, on the 29th September, 1910, when he was presented witli a gold key, suitably inscribed, commemorative of the event. On the death of the late King Edward VII, he proclaimed the accession to the Throne of King George V. from the balcony of the Town Hall, 9th May, 1910, in the presence of the military and a vast concourse of the townspeople. In company with the Mayoress he officially represented Newport at the Centenary Celebrations of the Couniy Borough of Bournemouth, held there 6th to 20th July, 1910, on which occasion he met the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor of London. It was Mr. Blackburn who, on the morning of that sad event, tied the colours on the aeroplane in which the late Hon. Allan Rolls was flying when he met his untimely death. He was one of the chosen representatives on behalf of Newport to attend the Investiture of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, K.G., in Carnarvon Castle, 13th July, 1911, on which occasion he was accompanied by Mrs. Blackburn and their daughter. Address: King's Head Hotel. Tel. 3405. Residence: Holly Bank, Fields Park road.

List of Newport's Mayors