A brief history of Little Oldway

Little Oldway was built between 1830 and 1850. Isaac Singer, the sewing machine magnate, lived here whilst he built the neighbouring Oldway Mansion. He constructed the tower based on the design of the Coverdale Tower in Paignton. Sadly, he died shortly before his mansion was completed.


Isaac’s son, Paris, then stayed here whilst he converted Oldway Mansion; and Isadora Duncan was a regular visitor. The house’s last inhabitant was Lady Leeds, a direct descendant of the Singer family, who died in the late 1970’s.


Little Oldway remained empty until 1982, when it was purchased by Barry and Jackie Privett. They turned the building into a care home – initially for seven residents – and oversaw its extension in the 1990’s.


In 2018 Mr and Mrs Privett’s daughter, Leanne Knowles, and her husband, Joseph, became joint directors of Little Oldway Ltd. Leanne is now the Managing Director.


There are 30 bedrooms at Little Oldway. 19 of them have en-suite toilet facilities; the others have commodes (if requested). All rooms have TV points for personal television sets.


We have three bathrooms and a sit in shower/wet room. One of the bathrooms has a Parker Bath with an automatic hoist to assist the less able.


There are three lounges, including a sun lounge, where clients can relax, socialise and entertain their guests. We encourage friends and family members to visit and residents are free to come and go when they are with family members. We offer guests refreshments and they may also stay for a meal with advanced notice. There is a public telephone and we encourage clients to keep in regular contact with their loved ones.


Residents have regular opportunities to take a stroll with their care workers in our beautiful, historic grounds.


Food and Nutrition

A great deal of thought goes into food and nutrition at Little Oldway – both in terms of maintaining a healthy diet and ensuring that our clients are able to enjoy familiar foods that they love. 


Our chef creates a rolling programme of menus that aim to strike the right balance. Vegetarian and special dietary requirements are always catered for.

Sample Menu


We encourage clients to manage their own time and offer a weekly schedule of activities and entertainment, which includes physical and mental exercise. 


Typical activities include art and craft, chair exercises (like dancing, catching and skittles), visiting entertainers and singers, walks in the garden and games designed to stimulate the mind.


Other services – such as chiropody, hairdressing, massage and exercise therapy – are available for an additional fee.


Visits from family and friends are very much encouraged and our staff are always open to suggestions that might enhance the activity programme even further.

We now have a permanent activities co-ordinator.


A Typical Day at Little Oldway


We’ll bring you a cup of tea in bed, then breakfast is served. We encourage everyone to come to the dining room, but we can bring your breakfast to your room if you prefer.

Mid Morning

You might choose to take a stroll around the grounds with a carer, join in with an activity, or find a sunny spot to read the paper in one of our comfortable lounges. Coffee is served mid-morning.


We eat our main hot meal at lunchtime. Afterwards we might have a visit from an entertainer or singer; or there might be a craft activity to enjoy – like making a Christmas lantern or a poppy for Remembrance Day. Hot drinks and cakes are available mid-afternoon.


Supper is served at 5:30pm, followed by a choice of hot drinks. Enjoy some time in the lounge chatting with friends or watching TV before you head off to bed.