Edinburgh to Marble Arch Walk 1959

Radio Interview

An interview by Vanessa Collingridge, broadcast on Radio4's Making History program on Tuesday 6th Nov 2007, and produced by Nick Patrick

Vanessa is also well know for her BBC Television documentary about Captain James Cook called "Obsessions & Discovery".

In late 1959 Dr Barbara Moore, a noted Russian dietician walked from Edinburgh to Marble Arch in an effort to publicise her latest diet to the British public. The walk was completed in 7 day 12 and a half hours, and made the headlines on the Television news programs and the national newspapers. She also became the talking point amongst most people whether for or against what she had achieved, especially considering that she was in her early sixties. Almost immediately a garage owner in Staffordshire threw out a challenge of 1000 pounds if anybody could beat her time.

I became aware of the challenges while watching the TV news on a Monday evening, as I was about to leave my house heading for the Warming Pan cafe opposite the Regal cinema. Where I met up with Harry Powell my best friend at the time. As you can imagine the challenge was the topic of conversation amongst most people who visited the cafe that evening. By the time I left for home both Harry and myself believed that we were invincible and that given half a chance we could beat her. Although upon reflection I have to admit that I was very naive, believing that I was bullet proof and could beat anybody at any challenge.

By the wednesday of that week both Harry and I had made up our minds that we would have a go at the challenge, allowing our selves just two days to organise how we would go about it. We had not a clue what to do or who to turn to for advice and information. The end result was that we just bough a single train ticket to Edinburgh and boarded a train on the Friday evening wearing clothing we would have normally worn for a visit to the Warming Pan for a night out, trying to pick up a girl friend. The only item of survival we took with us was a shoulder bag, containing 2 bars of Cadbury Chocolate and a bottle of Lucasade. As for finance, between us we had the grand total of 12 pounds.

If you would like to read a full account of the above in my Autobiography

Its FREE on and can be found in Chapter 3


I was only 16 years old at the time


Farewelled by the Stowmarket Station Master and Mr Weston Howard the Local dignitary, watched over by fellow 3 in I factory workers.


My Father found us at Hatfield 20 miles North of London


The last few steps to touch Marble Arch


Finally, after 7 days 8 and a quarter hours we completed the challenge. In the foreground is Raymond Taylor one of my work mates standing in front of my Father. In the background is Ennis Fenners Wife and my Mother


The Winners


Taken from the ICI News Bulletin Jan1960


Taken from the Stowmarket Mercury Newspaper 1960


Taken from the East Anglian Newspaper


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