Charlie Harvey

The story of Oxford’s Section 6 cinema


My local (grade II listed) cinema, the Ultimate Picture Palace has a fascinating history. It was built in the Edwardian era, and for many years served as a furniture warehouse.

Nowadays its a thriving cinema showing a mixture of mainstream and arty cinemas. You can read more about it on There’s even a movie about it featuring Ian Hislop and Brian Aldiss among others.

One of the more interesting stories is that in the mid-90s it was squatted for a month or so, but a collection of activists, and some homeless young people, who called it the Section 6 cinema after the piece of legislation that forbids forcible entry into premises and hence protects squatters from illegal eviction.

They showed films and organized community activities and built an autonomous space on Cowley Road.

Anyhow, the other day my pal dug up some old magazines I'd stashed in his attic back in the day. Among which was the Industrial Workers of the World house magazine, Burning Fuse. And in that magazine was an article about the occupation written by some participants.

Its a fascinating glimpse into the radical politics of the time and a thoughtful analysis of what the occupation was like for people involved in it.

I wanted to put it on but I don’t actually know who holds the copyright. If you’re the copyright holder and don’t want it to be up here, give me a shout.

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin. You can still download The story of the Section 6 cinema PDF, though