Lady Lumley’s 350-year-old almshouses reopen following £1m modernisation

By Dec 04, 2014

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A £1 million scheme to sympathetically modernise 350-year-old Grade 2 Listed Almshouses in a North Yorkshire village is complete.

To mark residents moving back to their homes in the Lady Lumleys Almshouses in Thornton-le-Dale, Earl Scarbrough this week officially declared them open at a special event. Earl Scarbrough is a descendent of Lady Lumley who originally endowed the Almshouses.

The Lady Lumleys Almshouse Trust, in partnership with housing association Broadacres and its developing partner Southdale, has spent the last 12 months on the £1.124 million modernisation scheme.

The Trust borrowed £500,000 from the Charity Bank to help fund the refurbishment, with a further £400,000 coming from the Homes and Communities Agency. The Trust funded the remaining balance from its cash reserves.

Work on the scheme began in December 2013, following a lengthy consultation process with residents living in the 12 Grade 2 Listed Almshouses, which were built as a gift to the village in 1658 from Viscountess Elizabeth Lumley who owned much of the land around the area.

Because of their age, the one-bedroom terraced homes, which are located in the centre of the village, were in need of a full modernisation programme, which has included the installation of new bathrooms, kitchens, heating, rewiring and insulation.

A large extension has also been added to the rear. One of the main changes has involved moving peoples’ living rooms from the front to the back of the building so they look out onto the residents’ own gardens.

Whilst the work was being carried out, people living in the Almshouses had to be temporarily re-located to cottages at the Thornton-le-Dale Care & Retirement Park in Hurrell Lane, but they are all now back at Lady Lumleys and enjoying their new surroundings.

“Refurbishing a Grade 2 Listed building like this has been complex and required a lot of planning, but we believe the completed scheme has remained very sympathetic to the historic nature of the Almshouses.

“The residents now have much more space and are now living in homes that are fit for the 21st century and beyond.”

Fiona Coleman, Development Manager for Broadacres

David FitzGerald, Chair of Trustees of the Lady Lumley's Almshouses Charity, said:“The official opening of the newly refurbished homes marks the culmination of a dream that first started a long time ago and it is sad that one of the key drivers behind the project, our former Clerk Heather Finch, is not around to see it come to fruition. Heather died three years ago but I know she would have been very proud, as we are, to see these wonderful homes.

“We have received very positive feedback from the residents and the Trustees would like to thank everyone involved for all their hard work and dedication during what has been a very complex, but ultimately hugely rewarding, project.”

Jeremy Ince, Charity Bank’s Regional Lending Manager, said:

“When Charity Bank assesses charities for potential for loans, we are looking to lend to organisations that will be able to help and enrich society as a result of their loan.

“Although it is only small, the Lady Lumley’s Almshouses charity has a significant positive impact on the quality of life for residents, and we are delighted to have been able support this project.”

Trudie McCormick, Eastern Region Managing Director for Southdale, said:

“The modernisation of Lady Lumleys Almshouses has been a project which has required a range of skills, as well as a great degree of sensitivity to the historic nature of the site. Using our broad range of skills, including those of our Greendale team, which provides environmental upgrades to homes, we have taken great pleasure in delivering this project for Broadacres.”

Helen Fielding, Senior Area Manager with the Homes and Communities Agency, said:

“We provide funding and support for all sorts of different housing projects, and it has been a pleasure to work with Broadacres and the Lady Lumley Trust to redevelop these historic almshouses. The transformation has been amazing, and has resulted in 12 really high quality, light, bright and warm homes at the heart of this rural village for older people in the community. I hope the residents enjoy their new homes.”

Almshouses are charitable housing provided to enable people (typically elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay rent) to live in a particular community. They are generally maintained by a charity or the trustees of a bequest.

The architects on the scheme were Bramhall Blenkhard Architects.