The family stayed in Brown's Hotel in Dover Street, London. They expected the war to finish quickly so they could return to their home in Paris, but the war dragged on and on. London's climate, with it's winter fog did not agree with Isaac and Isabella Singer's health and they were advised by their doctor to move South for cleaner air.

Having visited Devonshire earlier, they decided to return and arrived in Torquay. They moved into the Victoria and Albert Hotel while they looked around the area for an Estate or land to build on. Mr Singer made enquiries concerning the Brunel Estate which included a park of beautiful trees to the East of Torquay, which was for sale. It was owned by the family of Isambard K. Brunel, who had died before his Manor House could be finished. The trustees of the Estate made excuses. They had no wish to have this flamboyant man and his family living in the area. Isaac was unable to buy land in Torquay because the Mallocks and the Careys were the landowners and Lords of the Manor.

Mr.Singer was 60 years old, still a big man and a millionaire, his hair and beard had turned grey, but he was still flamboyant in his choice of clothing and he was proud of his young wife and children. He looked a little further a field to Preston between Torquay and Paignton, where the Fernham Estate was for sale. Included in the Estate were the villas "Fernham" and "Oldway", six cottages and the Rising Sun Public House. The Estate was on high ground with views over Torbay to Berry Head. Mr and Mrs Singer were impressed with what they had seen of the Estate and an offer was made to the owners and accepted. They were now the new owners of the Fernham Estate.

Whilst staying at the Victoria and Albert Hotel, Isaac invited a young Paignton Architect, George Soudam Bridgman, to call and see him. He asked him if he would like to design a big house, a Wigwam for that is what he would call it. He wanted a pavilion where the horses could be stabled and trained, a long banqueting hall with a conservatory attached of the same length, and a round Gardinique constructed of glass and metal, built with two floors. Mr Bridgman agreed to Mr. Singer's request and started to design a large French Villa which was to be called, "The Wigwam".

Mr and Mrs Singer left the Victoria and Albert Hotel in Torquay and moved into the larger of the two villas on the Estate called "Oldway", which was on high ground. The six cottages and the Rising Sun Public House were demolished. Trees and a meadow separated Oldway Villa from Fernham Villa which was later rented.

Firstly Mr Singer decided to have the Pavilion built. He and his family were happy and comfortable in Oldway Villa, Mortimer was then 8 years old, Winneretta 6 years, Washington 5 years, Paris 4 years, Blanch 2 years, and Franklin Morse the baby, 1 year old.

© copyright Dorothy Atkinson

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