Moving pictures first came to Oxford in 1896 but for years remained little more than a fairground sideshow. It would be fifteen years before Oxford's first purpose built cinema was opened. The little picture palace on Jeune Street survived just six years, closing at the height of the First World War. It remained there, an abandoned relic, for fifty-nine years until 1976 when two film enthusiasts discovered the decaying building and set about restoring it. With a dramatic new look, including fabulous 'Al Jolson' hands on its classical facade, the Penultimate Picture Palace became famous for challenging censorship and screening controversial, unusual and banned films. Closure under acrimonious circumstances in 1994 led to an unexpected change in fortune when the again empty building was occupied by political activists and run as a free cinema and community cultural centre. Now reopened and revitalized the cinema lives on as the Ultimate Picture Palace. The Ultimate Survivor tells the ...Written by
It was a bit of a flea pit and the guy that used to be in the ticket box, a very very small box, he would sell the tickets but after a time he would put down the shutter and he'd climb up a ladder onto the next floor and he was also the projectionist, there was a certain economy of means there.
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