Computer cupid: looking for love in pre-internet Britain

17 Nov 2021, 18:00 - 19:00

Baby changing facilities
Hearing loop
Wheelchair accessible venue

Contact the events team for further information about accessibility at this event

A 1970s couple having candlelight dinner.
The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

Dating today is dominated by digital platforms like Tinder. But before the advent of swiping left or right there was Dateline, the first computer dating service which, together with lonely hearts columns and agencies, took off in the 1970s. Against a rapidly changing social landscape and coinciding with newly-relaxed divorce laws, the young, the newly divorced and the never-married nationwide were in search of love. The age of the single was dawning and those looking for romance found a burgeoning matchmaking industry ready to play Cupid.

Join Dr Zoe Strimpel for this event to hear first-person accounts and flirtatious ads from the time, and discover what dating looked like 1970s-style. After the talk, have a go at creating the perfect Dateline ad to see if you too can find love.

Speaker: Dr Zoe Strimpel, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Warwick

Chair: Rosie Wilby, award-winning comedian and author of The Breakup Monologues

Part of Being Human Festival, 11-20 November


This event will take place at the British Academy, London. All events are staged in line with the government’s COVID-19 guidelines and our venue’s COVID-19 guidelines. Measures are subject to change in accordance with government guidance; attendees will be notified of any changes prior to their visit. Booking a place at a British Academy event constitutes your acceptance of our terms and conditions. If you have any questions about this event please email

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