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Do you remember when Virgin mogul Richard Branson came to town in 1998?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 November 2017

The outside of the Virgin Cinema just as it nears completion

The outside of the Virgin Cinema just as it nears completion

With the recent news that the town's former Odeon cinema could soon be occupied, we look back to the construction and grand opening of the former Virgin Cinema multiplex, now Cineworld, at Cardinal Park.

Work well underway inside the venueWork well underway inside the venue

Virgin Cinemas launched in 1995 after the acquisition of the largest movie theatre operator, MGM cinemas.

One of the cinema screens as it's being builtOne of the cinema screens as it's being built

Three years later and the construction of the brand new multiplex on Cardinal Park in Ipswich town centre was finishing up, comprising an 11 screen multiplex with THX screens and a premiere room offering free popcorn and snacks.

Construction underway on the block of leisure facilities next to the cinema, which is now home to businesses including Frankie & Benny's, Nandos and HavesterConstruction underway on the block of leisure facilities next to the cinema, which is now home to businesses including Frankie & Benny's, Nandos and Havester

Sir Richard Branson made an appearance at the newly built cinema, offering tours and interviews to the press and greeting his newest staff members at the site.

Richard Branson trying out one of the seats in the new Virgin Cinema Richard Branson trying out one of the seats in the new Virgin Cinema

But the cinema’s time under the Virgin branding was short lived, and in 2002 the company sold the chain.

Richard Branson gives interviews ahead of the openingRichard Branson gives interviews ahead of the opening

The cinema at Cardinal Park soon became Cineworld, which still stands at the site today.

Richard Branson takes a look around his newest cinema in 1998Richard Branson takes a look around his newest cinema in 1998

To share your own pictures and memories of Virgin Cinemas or Cineworld with us, email our picture desk.

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