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Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009
Miss Monroe and my Aunt Florrie
By Heather Driscoll-Woodford
BBC Surrey

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn was a "warm, open person with no airs or graces"

Florrie Mitchell went to work in the market garden at Parkside House in Englefield Green, after the death of her father in 1953.

Living in a small flat in the large Surrey mansion, she became friends with the owner Lord Drogheda, even sharing afternoon tea with him!

Her new companion introduced her to many famous visitors including royalty in the form of the Queen Mother.

But the most famous person she would meet at the house, was Marilyn Monroe.

FLORRIE MITCHELL AT PARKSIDE
Florrie Mitchell

Florrie had previously worked at Dell Park, a neighbouring estate, but when her father died, a situation became vacant at Parkside managing the market garden and chicken sheds.

At that time, the estate supplied London's Covent Garden with fresh produce on a daily basis, all under Florrie's watchful eye.

Her employer, Charles Garrett Ponsonby Moore, 11th Earl of Drogheda and his wife, concert pianist Joan Moore, welcomed a string of rich and famous visitors to the house.

The Lord often introduced Florrie to his guests and so when Marilyn Monroe and husband Arthur Miller came to stay in 1956, it was natural that the two women should meet.

Florrie's nephew Nigel Hammett recalls her saying that Marilyn was a warm, open person with no airs or graces.

And he became the envy of every schoolboy in the country when, on a visit to his aunt at Parkside, Nigel aged 15, was introduced to the Hollywood goddess.

Now 68, he remembers being very embarrassed and completely bowled over by Marilyn at the meeting, saying she was "stunningly beautiful."

Sadly Florrie died in 1998, taking her memories of Marilyn's visit with her, but Nigel recalls other staff working at the house alongside his aunt.

There was a cook he thinks was called Carolina, and housekeeper Mabel Whittington .

We are trying to find anyone with a connection or memories of life at Parkside House during Marilyn Monroe's stay.

You can email surrey@bbc.co.uk with any information that may help us piece together the story of the film star's only visit to the UK.




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