City centre standstill: When Worlds Apart opened Virgin Megastore in 1993

Pop group Worlds Apart at the Virgin Megastore opening in 1993 in Norwich, Norfolk.

Pop group Worlds Apart at the Virgin Megastore opening in 1993 in Norwich, Norfolk. - Credit: Archant Library

Remember the days before online music streaming? When we had to buy vinyls, cassettes or CDs from dedicated music or record shops in Norwich?  

Some of us still do, of course.

But many avid music aficionados will feel a twinge of nostalgia as they wander along Castle Meadow or White Lion Street and pass what used to be one of the largest music shops in the city: the Virgin Megastore.

Virgin Megastore in in Norwich in 1993.

One of the window displays at the new Virgin Megastore, Norwich in 1993. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

A customer listens to music at one of the sampling stations at Virgin Megastore in Norwich, Norfolk in 1993.

A customer listens to music at one of the sampling stations at the Norwich Virgin Megastore in 1993. - Credit: Archant Library

It first opened on May 20 1993, months ahead of other businesses in the Castle Mall shopping centre - now Castle Quarter - that was still being developed at the time.

Hordes of shoppers eagerly waited outside before the doors swung open and in no time at all the three floors heaved with customers.  

Crowds gathered outside the new Virgin Megastore in Castle Mall, Norwich before the grand opening in 1993.

Crowds gathered outside the new Virgin Megastore in Castle Mall, Norwich before the grand opening in 1993. - Credit: Archant Library


You may also want to watch:


The official opening took place soon after in June. The sky filled with balloons, traffic stalled and high-pitched screams rang out from the gathered crowds as pop group Worlds Apart swooped into the Virgin Megastore for its grand opening.

Red and yellow balloons soared into the sky over Castle Meadow during the Virgin Megastore opening in Norwich in 1993. 

Red and yellow balloons soared into the sky over Castle Meadow during the Virgin Megastore opening in Norwich in 1993. - Credit: Archant Library

It coincided with the half-term break so teenagers from across the county - and some slightly bemused parents -  flocked to see the band. 

Most Read

An estimated 4,000 people turned up on the day. 

Youngsters try out computer games on the android at Virgin Megastore in 1993.

Youngsters try out computer games on the android at Virgin Megastore in 1993. - Credit: Archant Library

One of the first shoppers at the grand opening of the Virgin Megastore, Norwich in 1993.

One of the first shoppers clasps their purchase at the grand opening of the Virgin Megastore, Norwich in 1993. - Credit: Archant Library

Worlds Apart performed alongside other support acts and the heartthrobs said the crowd was "wicked". 

For more nostalgic content like this subscribe to our new Through the Decades newsletter by clicking here

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter