12 November 2020

Dorothy Brooke honoured with Blue Plaque in Salisbury

charity founder Dorothy Brooke was honoured on Thursday 15 October with a Blue Plaque in Salisbury, where she lived with her husband British cavalry officer Brigadier Geoffrey Brooke from 1939-1955.

The unveiling at Malmesbury House in The Close was attended by Michael Brooke, grandson of Geoffrey, and Dorothy’s granddaughters Ann and Sarah Searight.

Born in 1883, Dorothy moved to Cairo with her husband in 1930. Here, she was shocked to find a large number of British horses leading lives of toil and misery in the city having been abandoned there at the end of World War 1. Overall, eight million horses, donkeys and mules died during the war but those who survived were often deemed too costly to send home.

Left to right: Michael Brooke, Sarah Searight, Ann Searight

In 1934, Dorothy founded The Old War Horse Memorial Hospital to give these animals a dignified and peaceful end to their lives. She continued to work for her charity up until her death in 1955, when she was buried in her adopted home of Cairo.

Almost 90 years on from its inception, the charity is now known as Brooke, Action for Working Horses and Donkeys and operates across ten countries, including Egypt where Dorothy’s legacy began. In 2019/20, the charity reached over 1.5 million working horses, donkeys and mules across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

The plaque was commissioned and erected by the Salisbury Civic Society. There are currently 25 plaques around the city, including ones for portrait painter George Beare and Lord of the Flies novelist William Golding.