On the Stage
These amazing black leather boots belonged to Kathleen Gregory, who in the late 1930s trained as a dancer with Betty Fox and Helena Lehmiski in her home town of Birmingham. Just after the outbreak of World War Two, at the age of sixteen, she began her stage career as a dancer and chorister in musical comedy, pantomimes, revues and variety shows.
It is unknown exactly when she acquired the Big Boots or when she learned and initially performed the special dance in them; however the photograph of Kathie wearing them can be dated 1939-1941.
She often referred to the boots as her Little Tich boots as there was an old variety music hall act by a man of that name. Throughout the war years Kathie performed in shows which toured the UK, the company moving en masse by train from one town to another.
The dancers and choristers were not named individually on the programmes, but acknowledged as The Lehmiski Ladies, John Tiller’s Girls and The Danetree Girls. The Flying Ballet was another speciality in which Kathie performed. Kathie performed in Northampton at The New Theatre in The Arcadians July 9th – 15th 1944 and The Desert Song April 8th – 14th and again 21st – 27th 1947. Kathie married in 1948 and continued to perform in shows in Birmingham and in South Wales until family life made it unfeasible.