Nikolai Pastukhov was born on the 17th of January, 1820 in Yaroslavl. He received the schooling at home. Since he was 12 years old, he started studying trade operations, while carrying out various commercial commissions. Recognizing a lack of knowledge that he gained in his childhood and youth, Nikolai Pastukhov read a lot the whole life long. Thanks to this passion to reading, the merchant Pastukhov was well-read in the Russian literature. He obtained all magazines, which were published in the 40th -50th of the XIX century.

Members of the Pastukhov family were houseowners. In Yaroslavl they generally owned tenement houses: trading houses, shops, warehouses in the central part of the city, and estates. The charity of the Pastukhov dynasty appeared not only in generous contributions to maintenance and enlargement of an orphanage Olginskiy, a House of Diligence, and a Reading Hall but in donation of houses to the city for compationate purposes. In the middle of the XIX century the house on the street Vlas’evskaya was granted for occupation by an alms-house. In the beginning of the XX century the Technical school was built on the street Dukhovskaya.  The Pastukhov family kept a hospitium on the street Bolshaya Danilovskaya in the beginning of the XX century.

Nikolai Pastukhov owned metallurgical works and hereditary iron trade. To the beginning of the XX century warehouses and counting houses for sale  of iron, lead, cooper, tin and goods branded by  the Pastukhov firm located in Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Tula, Vyatka, Yaroslavl and the Nizhny Novgorod Fair. The main counting house was situated in Yaroslavl (N. Pastukhov lived there). Despite Nikolai Pastukhov had got a family education, he was very progressive in his ideas, wasn’t afraid of innovations, implemented new technologies in industries.

Nikolai Pastukhov tried to emulate the most progressive patterns of his days, especially Englishmen. Only them he declared veritable businessmen. Nikolai Pastukhov was interested in Britain lifestyle, so he even got a sobriquet “the Yaroslavl Englishman”. He tried to organize the home life in the English manner.
He made aware of how inaccessible to children in poor family an education can be. Along with this he realized, how keenly Russian industry demanded skilled personnel. So Nikolai Pastukhov decided to open a Technical School. In 1895 he openly declared his intention. The title of nobility was bestowed on Nikolai Pastukhov after establishment of the Technical School.

Nikolai Pastukhov was a key figure in the social life. At first he served in a court (1851-1853), and then he was a manager of house-hold in the alms-house that he had established jointly with his uncle Alexander Matveevich and the brother Pavel. The alms-house “Pastukhovskaya” (1851-1865) was designed for 50 people and financed by the Pastukhov family. Nikolai Pastukhov never set development of the alms-house aside. He was a curator of the alms-house up to his death. For example, he spent about 20 000 rubles to maintain and enlarge the alms-house. Nikolai Pastukhov was three times elected a Justice of the Peace in Yaroslavl uyezd. 1871-1895 he acted as a member of the Yaroslavl city Duma.
Nikolai Pastukhov subscribed to charity a lot. A dispensary attached to the hospital of the Yaroslavl Medical Society was built at the expense of Nikolai Pastukhov. He was a member of the Society for assistance to destitute displaced persons. He was a curator of the orphanage Alexandrovski for orphan-boys, an honorary member of the Yaroslavl provincial Guardianship of orphanages, etc.

Nikolai Pastukhov for his social and charity activities was rewarded by two medals “For Diligence” and the Order of St. Anna Second and Third Class, and the Order of St. Stanislav Third Class. But the most considerable act of Nikolai Pastukhov was an establishment of the Under Mechanical and Technical School, designed for 240 students. Nikolai Pastukhov at the own expense built the schoolhouse and equipped there classrooms and workshops. Nikolai Pastukhov was ennobled for this contribution to education.
In the year 1900 Nikolai Pastukhov was elected an honorary member of the Society for assistance to popular education and distribution of useful knowledge over the Yaroslavl province. The Yaroslavl city Duma conferred him the rank of the Feeman of Yaroslavl (1904) for the opening of the Technical School and the dispensary, for which he had outlaid over 700 000 rubles. In the reply letter of welcome Nikolai Pastukhov mentioned, that to support Yaroslavl was always very important to him.

Nikolai Pastukhov died on the 5th of December, 1909. He was buried on the cemetery Leontievskoe in Yaroslavl.