‘End of an era’ as sex cinema loses council battle

09:30 09 June 2014

Oscars cinema on Northdown Street

Oscars cinema on Northdown Street


A notorious sex cinema has lost its battle with Islington Council to get back its licence and now faces imminent closure.

Officers found “obscene and disorderly behaviour” inside Northdown Street’s Oscars cinema and revoked the licence in November. An officer found “men kissing and fondling each other” and was sold an x-rated DVD called Meet the Barebackers II.

On Wednesday, a Highbury Magistrates’ Court district judge rejected an appeal by the owners, after finding the licensee Mr Papworth had a “complete failure of understanding” of the rules.

Cllr Paul Convery, who has spoken out for months against the “sleazy” cinema in his ward, said: “People might say this is the council moralising, but it really isn’t.

“What people get up to in private is up to them, but this is not in private – it’s a public place in a high street and if they breach lawful conditions, consequences follow.

“We’re not being prudish; we’re reflecting public opinion.”

Resident and film historian David McGillivray, 65, called the decision to revoke Oscars licence “the end of an era”. Speaking at last year’s meeting, he said: “I believe it has always served a small minority of men who are mainly respectable and well-behaved.


“London was once full of these establishments but now there are very few left. I hope people are not making moral judgments about this venue, which adds to the variety and diversity of the area”.

Nearby Abcat cinema, also near Caledonian Road, is set to have a similar appeal heard later this month.

Abcat opened in 1969, when it began showing adult films in a Victorian basement – and its closure follows on from a string of crackdowns on the sex industry.

The council was awarded full costs of £7,775 from Oscars.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:00
Archway Resource Centre, on Waterlow Road, provides an irreplaceable setting of community

Eight charities fear for their futures after being evicted from their low-rent premises.

Yesterday, 14:00
Islington Youth Council, 2016-18. From left: Mohamed Abaas, Serkan Marasli, Honey Baker, Venetia McNally, Iqra Finiin, Miriam Fleary, Chikamso Ben-Nwankwo, Diana Lucia Gomez Paniagua, Tega Agbede, Noe Buttery, Darey Cletus and Zarin Haque

Islington’s Youth Council election was “a victory for youth democracy” as a record number of young people voted.

Yesterday, 11:31
Jessie, pictured here with John Cronin, went missing outside Your Local Express in Liverpool Road

A dog that was stolen from outside a shop earlier this month has been returned to his owners alive and well – just in time for Christmas.

Yesterday, 09:30
Vaso Kakko

Detectives investigating the murder of 17-year-old Vaso Kakko in Holloway made an arrest yesterday.

Yesterday, 07:00
A film beams from outside Tintype, Essex Road, last year. Photo: Cameron Leadbetter

An Essex Road art gallery will be impossible to ignore over the next month, as it launches an exhibition of short films beamed directly to shoppers and passers-by.

Mon, 17:33
Police believe these two men could help with investigations

Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to as part of an investigation into a sexual assault in Old Street.

Mon, 17:04
The group left the train at Highbury and Islington.

A “good Samaritan” was left needing hospital treatment after he was attacked while trying to stop a woman from being sexually assaulted on

Mon, 14:30
Sarah Dunant (L), artist and refugee Neda with her artwork, and actress Juliet Stevenson (R)

The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants is urgently appealing for more donations in the run-up to Christmas in order to stay open for an extra day each week.

Most read news


Win a beautiful monochrome tunic dress with Great British Life!

Great British Life is offering a beautiful monochrome silk tunic dress worth £179 to one lucky reader

Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder