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From Tea Dances to Tinder: 100 Years of British Dating

In 1918 date night might have ended rather abruptly. Young couples were routinely dragged from cinemas and bushes by gangs of women who had authority from the police to stop any monkey business. Fast forward to 2018 and we have dating apps where the monkey business takes centre stage. So what’s changed? In a word, everything. The past 100 years have seen the world of British dating rocked by everything from wayward American Gis to the contraceptive pill

Then there’s the internet. Since the invention of the telephone, technology has been transforming the way we get it on. The digital age lets us meet someone who shares our values from the comfort of the sofa. To keep us busy in the meantime, the latest generation of smartphones put an endless bank of casual romantic partners in the palm of our hands. A prominent dating site hit headlines recently for its since-discredited claims that its compatibility algorithm is “scientifically-proven.”. While this seems very modern; in fact, computer scientists have been trying to nail this since an IBM 650 was used at Stanford to match 49 men with 49 women in 1958. Have all the apps and compatibility matching algorithms given us more chance than ever of meeting The One, or has something been lost in dating?

From tea dances to Tinder, our new infographic explores the activities, etiquette and revolutions that have shaped British dating over the past century.