A village has unveiled a commemorative plaque in recognition of the input made by a generous Victorian Quaker and financier.

The Blue Plaque has been installed on North Lodge, in Allonby, in memory of philanthropist Thomas Richardson.

He married a local woman and built North Lodge for her, as a summer residence, in the 1840s. Six cottages were built - at either side of the imposing building - for the poor and needy.

Times and Star: At the unveiling in AllonbyAt the unveiling in Allonby (Image: Supplied)

Mr Richardson also helped to complete the building of what is still the village school. It had been started with funds from public subscription which had dried-up.

A Thomas Richardson Educational Charity was set up in the past but has recently closed.

Former chairman Pam Jones said: "North Lodge was sold a few years ago. Angela Murphy and Scott Little took on the massive job of restoring this enormous Grade 2 listed building and have, so far, created 12 beautiful homes, for a largely permanent resident community.

Times and Star: In memoryIn memory (Image: Supplied)

"When I approached them they agreed that a Blue Plaque dedicated to this genial, generous man would be an excellent idea."

Scott unveiled the plaque in front of children from Allonby Primary School, local history group members, fellow trustees of the Thomas Richardson Charity, North Lodge residents and interested parties.

Mrs Jones said a few words about the life of Thomas Richardson. She thanked fellow trustee Denise Davies for her unstinting work as treasurer and Scott and Angela for their support.

Mr Richardson was born in Darlington in 1771, one of nine children. He went from a humble start to become a rich man.

The committed Quaker went to London to seek his fortune. He started out as a messenger in the Quaker financial services and worked his way up the ladder, becoming a wealthy banker.

He married Martha Beeby of Allonby in 1799. They lived in London but he built North Lodge for her in Allonby so she could see friends and family.

"To either side of the house were attached cottages," said Mrs Jones.

"Later the end properties were sub-divided to house more individuals or smaller families. Thomas Richardson allowed poor people, initially spinsters or widows, to live in the cottages and gave them a pension of £5 a year – a lot of money then, to help them to survive."

At about this time there were many Quakers living in Allonby.

Mr Richardson stepped in to support the building of a new school.

"He gave £50 a year to pay for a school master and an assistant teacher. Much later on, when education began to be paid through taxation, this money was invested to help pupils of the school go into further education or get to university," said Mrs Jones.

For over 175 years his money supported village youngsters.

When the fund closed, the remaining money was given to Allonby Primary School.

This is the second Blue Plaque in the village. Another one recognises the one-time home of artist Percy Kelly.