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Harry Cocks on the History of the Lonely Hearts Advertisement

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Date/Time
Date(s) - Wednesday, 11th February
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Location
Five Leaves Bookshop

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In June 1921, Alfred Barrett, the proprietor of a little paper called the Link, was sentenced to two years in prison. His crime was inventing the modern lonely hearts advertisement. To modern eyes, the respectable servant girls, majors, colonels, lawyers, barristers and clergymen who advertised in his paper seem the picture of innocence, but at the time Barrett was accused of promoting immorality, homosexuality, prostitution and white slavery.

Barrett invented more than he knew. Using the personal ad or its offspring the internet profile to find love or friends is now a vital tool of our social lives from networking to romance, sex and even marriage. Many people spend hours wondering how best to present themselves in the kind of short, eye-catching phrases that are almost second nature in the information age.

Harry Cocks will tell the story of how we finally learned to stop worrying, and love the personal ad.

Harry Cocks is a historian at Nottingham University. He has published three books: Nameless Offences: Homosexual Desire in 19th century England (Tauris), The Modern History of Sexuality (Palgrave, with Matt Houlbrook), and Classified: The Secret History of the Personal Column (Random House, 2009).

Admission: £3.00. 15% off all purchases made on the night. Refreshments available.