Here are some highlights from Richard Branson’s career.
Branson and Powell initially ran a small record shop called Virgin records and tapes on Notting Hill Gate, London, offering bean bags and free vegetarian food for the benefit of customers listening to the music on offer.
The first real store was above a shoe shop in Oxford Street, London. After making the shop into a success, they created a fully fledged record label, called Caroline Records. The name Virgin, according to Branson, arose from a brainstorming session. Tessa Woods suggested Virgin – as they were all new to business – like “virgins”.
Richard Branson went into partnership with a small start up company British Atlantic airways renaming it to Virgin Atlantic. He later bought out his partner. On 22 June 1984, Virgin Atlantic operated its first scheduled service between Gatwick and Newark, in the USA, using a leased Boeing 747. Branson sold his prized Virgin Records in 1992 to raise capital for Virgin Atlantic, which was in financial difficulty at the time. Virgin Atlantic now uses a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Airbus is a European company and Boeing is American.
For more about Virgin Atlantic see Wikipedia.
Virgin Atlantic has been working with LanzaTech since 2011 to produce jet fuel made from carbon waste gases. The first flight using this low-carbon fuel was announced in 2018. Richard Branson welcomed the airliner personally after it landed at Gatwick airport.
Virgin Trains has operated the InterCity West Coast long-distance passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between Greater London, the West Midlands, North West England, North Wales and Scotland.
In 2007 a Pendolino train derailed in Cumbria. The train was carrying 109 people. Several carriages were left lying on the railway embankments. An elderly woman was fatally injured and five people seriously injured. The accident was caused by a faulty set of points. The train itself however was widely praised for the way it retained its structural integrity.
In 2009 Richard Branson launched a campaign to have the next franchise period extended for 20 to 30 years, so that Virgin would be able to spend more on infrastructure and be able to see a return on investment. Branson said the journey time between London and Birmingham could be reduced by 22 minutes to under one hour. This was turned down by the Department for
For more about Virgin trains see Wikipedia.
The government is now pressing ahead with the construction of a new high speed railway line to the north of England.