Penrose Halson - author of Marriages are Made in Bond StreetPenrose Halson has been a teacher, an editor and writer, producing hundreds of educational language magazines and courses for children learning English as a Foreign Language, French and Spanish.

She also taught, first as academic headmistress of a small, eccentric ballet school, which when bursting at the seams had 32 would-be dancers, aged 11 – 16. Then she taught Spanish to third-year refusers at a London comprehensive. She didn’t manage to impart any knowledge (though the experience worked better than any diet: she lost half a stone).

It’s a little test to see if you are worthy of the lady’s hand.

She didn’t manage to get married either, although her mother had packed her off to a marriage bureau when she was 25 (in 1966 an unmarried girl of 25 was “on the shelf” ). She didn’t find a husband, but met some pleasant men and found out how a marriage bureau worked. This was useful when, aged 41, she met Bill, who spotted her talent for connecting people who she felt sure would get on well, and persuaded her to jointly buy the Katharine Allen Marriage & Advice Bureau.

The Bureau blossomed, and in 1992 they took over the oldest Marriage Bureau, established by Heather Jenner in 1939, when it could not cope with a 700% rent increase.

"This Happy Couple" - Tony Husband for Katharine Allen BureauSince selling the combined bureaux in 2000, Penrose and Bill are still in touch with scores of clients, some happily married, some sadly widowed, a few still searching. Many of the Bureau’s married couples have had children, now in their teens. Penrose keeps her eye out for “the One” who may suit them around 2030!