Edinburgh slow dating

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Fifty years ago, this woman set up Britain's first modern dating agency and created a giant industry.

There have been hundreds of weddings and, today, in a world of speeddating and internet romance, she still has around 400 clients of all ages hoping Stella's personal touch can help find them their Mr or Miss Right.

In the process, her work has become a fascinating barometer of social change: when Stella first started her agency in the early Sixties, newspapers refused to carry her adverts for fear of causing a scandal.

I had to decline as she was now in her late 60s and I didn't think I could help her."As the business grew in the Sixties, there were no shortage of applications. "I employed a mother's help to look after Emma, alongside a secretary, a cleaner and a housekeeper," she recalls.

Those Stella has helped over the years include television personalities - although Stella is resolutely declines to name them - and members of the aristocracy.

20,000 lonely hearts later (including her own) her views on the changing mores of romance make fascinating reading.

When a young Stella Groschel heard of her friend's plans to join a marriage bureau in her search for a husband, she was shocked to the core. I thought it was rather on the dangerous side and something that only really desperate, peculiar people would consider." Since then, however, Stella has learned to see matters from the other side.

She matched her very first client, a shy widow in her early 40s who was looking for a new partner to help with the upbringing of her young children.

Head here for Skiddle's guide to dating in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is awash with great venues to meet people, as well as speed dating nights and singles events designed to help you find 'the one'.

By then working as a journalist on her local newspaper in Sheffield, where the couple had settled, Stella knew she would be unable to continue with her career but, with a stultifying marriage, was aware she needed something else to distract her.

"The fact that my friend had gone to a marriage bureau all those years ago had really stuck in my head," she recalls. "I couldn't help thinking that I could make a success of my own matchmaking service.

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