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iur or d e ty ts a Which? car sup­ple­ment in 1962, for which 70,000 peo­ple signed up. Which? helped ban lead paint in chil­dren’s toys and won com­pen­sa­tion for mil­lions of vic­tims of Pay­ment Pro­tec­tion In­surance poli­cies.

Richard added: “It wouldn’t be pos­si­ble with­out our sub­scribers.

“We have never taken ad­ver­tis­ing, so it means we can be com­pletely im­par­tial.”

From tele­vi­sion sets to tal­cum pow­der, Which? has tested thou­sands of prod­ucts, coin­ing the phrase “best buy” – now a cov­eted award for re­tail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers.

But it stretched the tol­er­ance of its more con­ser­va­tive mem­bers in 1963 by publishing a com­par­a­tive test of 35 brands of con­doms and other con­tra­cep­tives – a re­port many news­pa­pers re­fused to pub­lish.

Nearly one-third (32 out of 100 tested) failed the pin-hole test, spring­ing leaks after be­ing filled with a third of a litre of wa­ter – lead­ing the Aegis Anti-VD con­dom to be with­drawn from the mar­ket.

Alas­tair MacGe­orge, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s as­sis­tant di­rec­tor at the time, de­fended the con­doms re­port.

He said: “Em­bar­rass­ment has never put us off. Nor has of­fend­ing a tiny group of peo­ple who could not face the facts of life – not when there is an enor­mous de­mand and need for fac­tual in­for­ma­tion.”

It is a legacy Toby Young, son of Michael who died in 2002 aged 86, thinks his dad would be most proud of.

He said: “Look­ing back over 60 years of Which? I think my dad would be most proud about the dis­com­fort it still causes to man­u­fac­tur­ers get­ting a poor re­view.”

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