This is part of a heritage trail around Belper, taking in some of the key historic areas, and talking about some of the people involved in the development of the town. You can find a map of the trail, and information on where to find interpretation boards containing more details on the town and its history at www.derwentvalleymills.org/belper.
The Academy and Grammar School
The Academy which became Belper Grammar School opened in about 1825, although the present building wasn’t erected until c.1830. It originally had a copper canopy over the ground floor door and windows, seen on the photograph. Today, you can still see where it attached to the building. The arch with room above on the right of the building was a later addition. Henry Perkins was the original owner, buying the land in 1829 and creating a purpose-built house and school in the Regency style.
By 1842, Perkins returned to his London roots, selling the building for £775 to William Wallis, a cotton hosier who lived nearby. The next headmaster, Robert Applebee, brought his school from Leicester, tenanted the property and opened in 1846/7.
By 1871, William Anthony was running the school, buying the building from Wallis in 1872. By 1891 he had renamed it the Collegiate School. The 1901 census is the first to describe it as a ‘grammar school’, by then run by Sefton Brooke from the Isle of Man. George Mellor Wright took over in about 1909 until his unexpected death in 1913. Belper Grammar School closed soon afterwards.
George Brettle and Co Ltd bought the property in 1916, selling it on to Derbel Manufacturing Co Ltd in 1938, for use as a hosiery factory, when it was extended at the rear to accommodate the processes. Derbel sold it to Dalton and Co Ltd in 1984, who rented the
property out for use as a factory shop during the remainder of the 1980s. It fell into disrepair but attempts to demolish the building in 2007 were thrown out after a public inquiry. It was completely restored and refurbished by software company Chevin Fleet Solutions and is now fully back in use.
There were separate schools for girls in the town, including Beecholme College, the building for which can still be seen at the top of The Orchard, off Green Lane.