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This is the page for Ultimate Picture Palace cinema, Jeune Street.

<< 93 95 >>

1995: Photographed by Martin Stott
1995: Photographed by Martin Stott

2011 - present

In 2011 Becky Hallsmith bought the UPP and "set[s] about restoring the cinema to its former glory"[1]. In the same year a film about the cinema, entitled "The Ultimate Survivor" premiered.

In 2014 the cinema held a (successful) Kickstarter campaign to raise money for new seats.

In 2018 Becky Hallsmith sadly died, staff continued to run the cinema for 4 years after that date.

On 29 April 2022, in line with Becky's wishes[2] her friends and the cinema staff launched a community share offer[3], enabling the public to invest in the cinema and secure its future. The newly formed aimed to raise £312,575 in share investment, using the Ethex investing platform, also based on Cowley Road (at the Old Music Hall).

The UPP is a Grade II listed cinema [4] and is owned by Oriel College, from whom it is leased [5].

2009 -2011

In 2009 Philippa Farrow and Jane Derricott bought the cinema and installed a new bar, but put the UPP up for sale again after only a couple of years.

1994 - 2009

Brothers Saied and Zaid Marham acquired the cinema in 1994 and restored the cinema's art deco façade for its re-opening as the Ultimate Picture Palace(UPP).

It re-opened on 4 June 1996, with a showing of Blade Runner.


The cinema, which had been closed and unused for some time was squatted for a month by the Oxford Freedom network. During this time it was called the "Section 6 cinema", Section 6 being the part of the 1977 Criminal Law Act which makes it an offence for an owner to attempt to use or threaten violence to enter an occupied premises and hence protects squatters from illegal eviction.

A number of movies were shown including Star Wars and In The Name of the Father as well as a programme for children on Saturdays.

8 young homeless people were able to find temporary accommodation in the upstairs projection room [6] .

An account of the occupation was published in Burning Fuse magazine.

One of the last events held was called the "Come What May Cabaret", which featured stand up comedy, acoustic music and fire juggling.

Eventually the owners, Donnington Hospital Trust obtained a possession order, and the squatters were forced to leave.

1976 - 1994

Bill Heine acquired the cinema, and changed its name to the Penultimate Picture Palace(PPP). The name came about because his bank manager described the scheme as "not quite the ultimate in bad ideas, but the penultimate" [7]. Heine invited his friend sculptor John Buckley to design its fixtures. For the facade he chose a figure reminiscent of Al Jolson with outstretched hands. The door handles were like Mae West's lips, and there was a female and a male figure above the toilet entrances, named Pearl and Dean. In 1986 Buckley made the famous shark at Heine's Headington house. The cinema closed on 16 March 1994, the last movie shown was, perhaps ironically, Cinema Paradiso.

? - 1976

At some point the building was used for storing furniture.

1917 - ?

After the manager Horace Froude was called up for war service, the cinema lay abandoned for many years. The last film showing was on 9 June 1917.

1911 - 1917

Local entertainment magnate Frank Stuart, who also owned Oxford's first cinema, the Electric Theatre on Castle Street and the East Oxford Theatre (now known as the Old Music Hall). In addition he was the licensee of the Elm Tree pub and the cinema was built in the stable yard of that pub to a design by architect John Wilkins. The cinema opened its doors on 24 February 1911 with a (invitation-only) showing of the 1910 film The Bad Man and the Preacher, starring Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson and John B. O'Brien [8].

Before then?

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