A film lover has lamented the final curtain being bought down on the “iconic” Barnet Odeon.

The cinema, in Great North Road, Barnet, has been sold to independent chain Everyman Cinema along with three other Odeon sites – Esher, Gerrards Cross, and Muswell Hill – for £7.1m.

Everyman Media Group raised £20m from a share placing to buy the sites, and says it will spend £6.1m on refurbishing the four cinemas “to existing Everyman standards”.

Barnet Odeon, which opened in 1935, closed on July 12 and the Everyman Cinema will open later this year.

Alan Jenner, of Greenhill Park, Barnet was driving past when he saw the letters pulled down last week.

The 60-year-old said: “It was a sad moment, as it’s been going for 80 years. It was iconic. You could sit in screen one and it was beautiful.”

A former headteacher, Mr Jenner said he used to take his family regularly when his three children were growing up.

He added: “It is a shame, the face of Barnet is changing. But one has to embrace change, and move with the times. Hopefully it will be for the better.”

Despite visitors to cinemas dropping in recent years, Mr Jenner, whose favourite film is Once Upon a Time in the West, said he believed the numbers would start rising again.

He said: “I think eventually there will be a turnaround, as people have come back to watching live music. To watch a film is easy, but to go out and watch one is an occasion. It’s wonderful.”

Regular cinema goer Daniel Davey, a student from Enfield, said: “The Odeon was an institution in Barnet, and some of my first memories seeing movies were there. It will be sadly missed.”

In a statement on its website, Odeon said: “For many years, Odeon Barnet has brought the magic of film to the local community, and throughout that time we’ve become a local landmark and shared some incredible, unforgettable moments with our guests.

“However, from Sunday 12th July, while the cinema will remain open, it will no longer be an Odeon cinema.

“Nonetheless, we can continue that fantastic journey together at your nearest Odeon. We look forward to seeing you there soon!”