Penrose Halson at the Oundle Festival of Literature

In the spring of 1939, with the Second World War looming, two determined twenty-four-year-olds, Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver, decided to open a marriage bureau. They found a tiny office on London's Bond Street and set about the delicate business of match-making. From shop girls to debutantes; widowers to war veterans, clients came in search of security, social acceptance, or simply love. Thanks to the meticulous organization and astute intuition of the Bureau’s matchmakers, most found what they were looking for. " " " "The social history described in this wonderful book is fascinating, especially given the timing of the bureau’s start, just before the outbreak of war. Changing morals and a sense of carpe diem during the conflict added urgency and forthrightness to the proceedings. Over the course of the war the enterprise clocked up more than 2,000 weddings. " " " "Drawing on the bureau's extensive archives, Penrose Halson tells Heather and Mary’s story, and those of their clients. All were desperately longing to find 'The One', and thanks to the Marriage Bureau, they almost always did just that.

  • Location

    St Peter's Church

    Broad Street


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  • Event Start Date

    16/11/2017 7:45 PM

  • Event End Date

    16/11/2017 8:45 PM

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About Penrose Halson

Penrose Halson's career encompassed teaching, writing, editing and, to her astonishment, becoming first lady Master of a City Livery Company. Her determined mother sent her to the Katharine Allen Marriage & Advice Bureau, of which she became proprietor in 1986. In 1992 it incorporated Heather Jenner's agency. Aged forty-eight she finally delighted her mother by marrying and lives in London with her husband. She is the author of Marriages Are Made in Bond Street.