— Ellie Broughton

Maria Dickin: Feminist, activist and ten-tonne Christmas pudding-maker


Photo: PDSA/English Heritage

Photo: PDSA/English Heritage

Maria Dickin has until recently been an unsung hero for animal rights.

When she founded the PDSA she took a critical view of vets, and in 1931 she blasted them in a letter, writing:

“If you are so concerned about the proper treatment of Sick Animals of the Poor, open your own dispensaries; open them everywhere for there are vast factory, mining, manufacturing and dockland areas where nothing at all exists to help the Sick Animal…Live among it as we do… Do the same work we are doing. Instead of spending your energy and time in hindering us, spend it in dealing with this mass
of misery.”

Afterwards she compounded her fame by creating a record-breaking 10-tonne Christmas pudding in the Albert Hall as part of the PDSA’s seasonal bazaar.

Working as a writer, then features editor at the Hackney Citizen I got to cover lots of things I loved. Here’s a selection of the best: