We managed a nice picture of the early bird bluebells this week, so I thought I’d have a chat with Google about them. I was hoping he’d mention that all parts of the plant are reasonably toxic to humans and animals. Or perhaps, that most of the world’s bluebells are here in the UK, but it’s OK, we’ve made it illegal to dig up the bulbs and to pick the flowers to offer them for sale. Perhaps, even, that they are quite pernickety and take around seven years from seed to producing their first flower and trampling around on their leaves kills the bulbs.
But no. What he wanted to mutter on about was The Bluebell Girls. This was the name of dance troupes in all the major world capitals started and run by Mary Kelly who became better known as Miss Bluebell. She left school at 14 to become a dancer in a Scottish troupe called The Hot Jocks. In the 1930s she danced in Berlin and Paris – she and her husband were in Paris during WWII and he was arrested by the Gestapo – but escaped with the help of the resistance and she hid him in Paris. Despite having to go through severe questioning herself they stayed there, with their children, until the war ended.
All interesting stuff you might think – and that she was a remarkable lady. But what had caught Google’s eye was actually that Miss Bluebell was the one who introduced the world to the concept of topless dancers.