The village of Belmont had its origins in the early years of the C19 with the establishment of a “Calico Printshop” By 1850, in addition to the printshop, there was a cotton mill, a paper mill and there had also been an undertaking to establish a water supply.
Workers’ houses for the printshop were built on Maria Square and the adjoining stretch of High Street, and for the cotton mill, on South View (Top Row), Naylor’s Terrace (Middle Row) and Ryecroft Lane (Bottom Row). Paper Mill cottages were built for the workers in the industry. Independent landlords also built small terraces on High Street, Ward Street and Deakin’s Terrace. A workers’ building club put up waterfall Terrace (Club Row).
At first, elementary education for both children and adults was provided by the Church of England and Independent Chapel (Congregational) Sunday Schools. The aim was limited to enabling pupils to read the Bible for themselves. Dedicated buildings were erected in 1832 and 1841.
From 1833 Government grants were available for full time education of children. It seems likely that early advantage was taken of this since the census reveals that there was a schoolteacher living in the village. By 1851 over 200 children were in attendance from the age of three to twelve. School most certainly met in the Anglican Sunday School building on the site of the present “Black Dog” car park.
During the 1860’s the village declined, the population falling from 1500 to 300 and the school was temporarily closed. The fortunes of the village improved when Edward Deakin converted the cotton mill and print shop for his bleaching and dyeing enterprise. The population rose to over 1000 and the school was re-opened in1875 in the Anglican Sunday School.