A £1m scheme to modernise 350-year-old grade II-listed almshouses in Thornton-le-Dale has been completed.

The Lady Lumley’s Almshouse Trust, in partnership with housing association Broadacres and its developing partner Southdale, has spent the past 12 months on the modernisation scheme.

A total of £500,000 was borrowed by the trust 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.

Work on the scheme began in December last year, following a lengthy consultation process with residents living in the 12 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, located in the centre of the village, were in need of a full modernisation, including new bathrooms, kitchens, heating, rewiring and insulation. A large extension has also been added to the rear. Living rooms have been moved from the front to the back of the building, so residents look out onto their own gardens.

During the work, residents had to be temporarily re-located to cottages at the Thornton-le-Dale Care and Retirement Park in Hurrell Lane.

Fiona Coleman, development manager for Broadacres, said: “Refurbishing a grade II-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.

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

To mark the residents moving back to their homes, Earl Scarbrough, a descendent of Lady Lumley, declared them officially open at a special event.

David FitzGerald, chairman 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.”

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

The architects on the scheme were Bramhall Blenkhard Architects, Malton.