Oldway Mansion - Paignton
Oldway Mansion - Paignton
Oldway Mansion is a well known local landmark, used by the local council and is registered for marriage ceremonies. A beautiful building with lovely grounds, it is well worth a visit. Oldway Mansion can be found on the Torquay (A3022) to Paignton road, about 1/2 mile from Paignton town centre and just past Manor Road going toward Paignton. There are 60 free car parking spaces and 2 Coach parking spaces.
Oldway Mansion History
In 1871 this Grand [Grade 2 Listed] 100 roomed mansion was purchased by Issac Merritt Singer, the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. He then started to build a huge new mansion. Issac Merritt Singer died on July 23rd 1875 aged 63. His funeral was one of the largest of its time in the Torbay area. When he died he had 22 living children, various wives, both legal and common law.
It was Paris Singer his third son who later altered and built onto 'Oldway Mansion'. The building was modelled on the 'Palace of Versailles' with other areas inspired by the 'Place de la Concorde' in Paris. The grand staircase and gallery all of marble, balusters of bronze,& marble pillars with gilding, are a wonder to behold, as is the most awe inspiring Italian School painted ceiling, by Lebrun.
Between the dual staircase is a huge painting replica, " The Crowning of Josephine by Napoleon" by Lebrun. The original which was sold by Torbay Borough Council, now hangs in the Palace of Versailles.
The Gallery is a miniature reproduction of the " Hall of Mirrors" in Versailles, and is floored in parquet. From the Gallery the Ballroom can be entered. The walls are of gilt panelling and mirrors,the floors are of sprung parquet for ease of dancing. On the wall hangs an oil Painting of Louis of Bourbon. The ballroom nowadays is used as the Council Chambers, and for a variety of other events.
Oldway Mansions Grounds were laid out originally by a well known French Landscape Architect "Duchesne". He included the beautiful "Grotto Gardens", where a waterfall showers down over cave like rocks into a pool below. The whole area is surrounded by sub-tropical plants and shrubs. This feature still remains today.
The Oldway Mansion stands in 17 acres of gardens, which partly today are still laid out formally on an Italian theme. The Maze garden with its dwarf box hedging , beautifully shaped flower beds, and topiaried trees, must not be missed.
On going up the drive and through into the car park, a large round building can be seen to the right of Oldway Mansion, this is known as The Rotunda. It was built in 1873, and was used when originally built as a riding pavilion, and exercise area. It had a removable wooden floor that was removed in order to ride the horses. The Singer Family with their colourful background and fame [but that is another story], did not use 'Oldway' as their permanent family home after 1918. With Paris Singers break-up of the love affair with Isadora Duncan the famous dancer in 1917, and the fact that it was cheaper tax wise for him to live in America, he became an American citizen.
In September 1914 'Oldway' was used as a hospital- The American Woman's war relief hospital. Even the Rotunda was converted to House rows of beds for the wounded soldiers being brought back to England from the trenches of France and Belgium in the 1914-1918 War. In the November of 1914. Queen Mary visited Oldway Hospital.
1940 saw the II World War, and again Oldway was used in the war effort by housing the RAF. It was used as a training wing for RAF Cadets learning to be aircrew. In 1943 there was an air raid on the town of Paignton,and Oldway with no exception was damaged, along with many other properties in the town.
Nowadays Torbay Borough Council occupy the Mansion which was purchased from the Singer family for £45,000 in 1946. A modest amount considering the approximate cost of the building originally
Being around £200,000 for Issac Merritt Singers "Dream Home".
It is also possible to be married in the beautiful old building, since the register office for the area is housed at Oldway Mansion too.
The hours of opening are 9am - 5pm all yr round. In the Summer Sundays 2pm-5pm.
7 Tennis Courts Grass 6 Courts Macadam 2 Tennis Courts Floodlight: Telephone 01803 20796
There is also a cafe for refreshments.
Weddings: If you are considering getting married at Oldway Mansion then visit this link
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