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Once you were suitably styled, you needed to get a date’s attention.

The Georgians were mad for ‘lonely hearts’ adverts, which they would write and post via newspapers including the , later in matrimonial gazettes, circulated around London’s coffee houses, while the Victorians settled on the idea of the marriage bureau, an agency designed to match the middle classes, via photos and details about their hobbies.

Kelly: Could you recommend anywhere nice to eat around here?

When I first began writing about the history of dating, what struck me most was how similar the problems of today are to the 1930s, the 1840s, and even the 1780s.

From worrying about a partner’s financial standing, or whether someone was going to stick around long enough for you to have children with them, to persuading your parents they are indeed a good fit, the means by which we go about finding love may have changed, but not the hopes, dreams and anxieties we’ve had about discovering it.

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