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The Curious Incident of

'Sabrina Slept Here'
at Thoresby Hall, 1957

Bullet 28th-30th March 1957 - Major Beattie oversaw the making of Thoresby Hall in Sherwood Forest open to the general public. To mark this auspicious occasion he invited the voluptuous but silent blonde celebrity Sabrina.

At that time the "Sabrina Slept Here" publicity stunt had been targeted at several Stately Homes, and Sabrina duly slept in Thoresby Hall on the night of 28th March 1957, the cause of much bawdy humour among male workers across the estate.

It had been the Major's plan to have Sabrina dress as Maid Marian the following day and serve the first guests with venison.

Also see Exposed (18 Oct 1957) and
Weekly Sporting Review 1957

See Sabrina in the Thoresby Hall brochure from 2008

Sabrina being coy at Thoresby Hall

Sabrina Thorseby Hall

Sabrina plays Maid Marian during her visit to Thoresby Hall

Sabrina at Thoresby Hall

Maid Marian Sabrina sets all eyes a-popping in Sherwood

Thoresby Hall, one of the many stately homes of England – former country homes and palaces of the aristocracy, which are now opened to the public for viewing – was made available to the public yesterday.

The press had been invited to a special first viewing. There was even a champagne breakfast in the old chambers.

However the biggest attraction of the day was Sabrina, the London model, who had come to Thoresby Hall near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire to turn the opening into "something special", and to give the photographers an opportunity to use their flashes.

Picture: Sabrina, as Maid Marian, in front of Thoresby Hall and the statue of Robin Hood. 30th March 1957

Sabrina at Thoresby Hall 1957

Sabrina at Thoresby Hall, 1957

Sabrina Thoresby Hall 1957

22 March 1957 - Corpus Christi Times

TV Star Used As Tourist Lure

Tourist Mansion Owner Boosts Slogan, "Sabrina Slept Here"

by Ronald Williams, Reuters

LONDON -Sabrina, a chesty young blonde, today became the latest bait to lure paying tourists to Britain's stately old mansions.

With a sharp eye for the forthcoming tourist season. British bluebloods have been vying for gimmicks to boost business at half a crown (35 cents) per visitor. They need the cash for the upkeep of the ancestral homes and for taxes.

Now one of the enterprising aristocrats has arranged for Sabrina, British television's glamor girl, to sleep in one of the 200 rooms of Thoresby Hall April 5—on the eve of the season's opening day.

His slogan for the season will be "Sabrina slept here" — a reply to rivals who advertise that "Queen Elizabeth I slept here."

Furthermore, at a kickoff champagne- party a week before the opening, Sabrina, whose vital statistics are the same as those of Jayne Mansfield, will dress up as Robin Hood's Maid Marian and hand out slivers of venison to some 500 guests.

This is because Thoresby hall is situated "in the heart of Sherwood Forest." Its grounds contain a 1,000-year-old oak tree where Friar Tuck and Little John reputedly hid venison.
The author of this historical research is the owner of Thoresby Hall, Maj. Alexander Montgomerie Greaves Beattie, a wartime bodyguard of Winston Churchill.

Beattie called upon Sabrina, known for her revealing gowns, as a counter-move to the Duke of Bedford who has offered part of the spacious grounds of his ancestral home, Woburn Abbey, for a nudist convention.
Sabrina herself almost became an accidental nudist when she was mobbed by fans in a recent public appearance. They ripped off the top half of her strapless dress revealing only Sabrina underneath.

Beattie recognises that opening stately homes to tourists has become a big business. He says "the organisation required is tremendous."

The Duke of Marlborough lost money two years ago although his home, Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Churchill, proved one of the most popular tourist attractions in Britain. He now offers American-style milk-shakes and sodas in addition to tea.
Besides a nudist convention, the Duke of Bedford is offering a juke box with latest rock 'n' roll tunes.

24 March 1957


LONDON, Saturday (Staff special).—The annual battle among Britain's landed but overtaxed gentry opened its 1957 season this week with a new twist.

While dukes and earls are relying on titles, antiquity and historical collections to draw the two-bob-a-time summer crowds to their stately homes and castles, an untitled owner has introduced blonds to attract sightseers.

Major Alexander Montgomerie Greaves Beattie, late of the Coldstream Guards, will hang a sign, "Sabrina Slept Here," in one of the scores of bedrooms in his 200-room home, Thoresby Hall.

The home, at Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, is in the heart of Sherwood Forest, legendary home of Robin Hood.

Beattie has arranged for the glamorous star to sleep in the room on the night of April 5 — the night before the house is opened to the rubbernecking crowds.

Beattie says Sabrina has also agreed to. attend a champagne lunch for 500 people at the hall.

30 March 1957

Daily Mirror - by Noel Whitcomb

WHEN Major Alex¬ander Mont¬gomery Greaves Beattie late of the Coldstream Guards decided to open his stately home — Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire — to the public, he figured it would be a good idea to get some well-known pub¬lic figure to appear at the opening.
So he took advice.
"Why not ask Sabrina?" suggested a friend.

"Sabrina?" murmured the Major. "Sabrina who?"

Yesterday he explained to me, hastily: "Please do not make me appear ungallant, but the only television set in my house is in the servants' hall — we cannot afford one, "So it was not unnatural that I had never heard of the lady."
In another part of the vast house, in the heart of Sherwood Forest, Sabrina was getting ready for Major Beattie's big pre¬opening luncheon.


"You'll have to watch out," I said to her on the telephone, "You know that the grounds of this stately home contain most of Sherwood Forest. If you aren't careful, the Major will have Robin Hood after you."

"Robin who?" said Sabrina.

Thoresby Hall hotel guide 2008

Thanks to Jeremy H in 2008, we have two lovely new pics of Sabrina from the Thoresby Hall hotel guide. The guide says:

In the Spring of 1957, Thoresby Hall opened its doors to the general public for the first time. The starlet Sabrina was employed at the press launch to lend glamour to the event in the guise of Maid Marian.

I n one picture she posed on the Grand Staircase, and in another she cuddles up to 'Robin Hood'; a statue by Tussaud-Birt, a grandson of Madame Tussaud. The statue which stood in the centre of the courtyard is now to be seen in the Stables Gallery.

Thanks again, Jeremy!

Thoresby Hall

From Exposed (18 Oct 1957)

These [press agents] can dream up the oddest twists indeed: On April 5, 1957, they packed their big-chested babe into a car and drove her to Thoresby Hall, Ollerton, Nottinghamshire. The Hall was a 200-room Victorian mansion, one of those stately homes of England which their owners now show to Sunday visitors for a 50-cent entrance fee.

"What am I supposed to do there?" Sabrina inquired uneasily.
"You will be the guest of Maj. Alexander Montgomerie Greaves Beattie," was the answer. "He is a former personal guard of Sir Winston Churchill."
"And why did he invite me?"

"Because he wants you to stay overnight."
Sabrina started getting angry, but the matter was quickly cleared up.

Maj. Beattie had inherited the mansion from Earl Manvers, his father-in-law. He planned to open it to the public on April 6, and he wanted the sexy TV star to spend a night in one of his scores of bedrooms so that he could tell his visitors truthfully: "SABRINA SLEPT HERE!"

From Sir! (1959) - also see Sir! (1957)



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