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Secret Surrey: Croydon Clocktower, Croydon

PUBLISHED: 17:45 12 May 2009 | UPDATED: 15:38 20 February 2013

The distinctive Croydon Clocktower in Croydon

The distinctive Croydon Clocktower in Croydon

Croydon Clocktower started life in 1895 as a town hall. Over a century later, the municipal offices have become a state-of-the-art cultural centre with an exciting programme of entertainment. CEIRI O'DRISCOLL finds out exactly what makes the Clock...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2008

Croydon Clocktower started life in 1895 as a town hall. Over a century later, the municipal offices have become a state-of-the-art cultural centre with an exciting programme of entertainment. CEIRI O'DRISCOLL finds out exactly what makes the Clocktower tick

Why pay a visit...

The striking orange brickwork of the Clocktower stands out a mile against central Croydon's concrete and glass. Inside is just as impressive. The Braithwaite Hall music and performance venue has a stunning Grade II listed interior. Somehow, there's also room for a cinema, museum, galleries, library, café and bar...

What you can expect...

Dance, poetry, plays, music and comedy all regularly appear in the listings. Alongside gorgeous food, the cosy Clocktower Café has free jazz from top local musicians on Thursday lunchtimes. Work by local artists is frequently exhibited around the café.

On the first floor of the Clocktower, you'll find Croydon NOW - a contemporary museum gallery that is currently playing host to a photographic exhibition by artist Corinne Silva called 'Croydonisation'. The display explores the town's regeneration from the 1890s up to present day and into the future. Entrance to the Clocktower galleries is free.

Special interest...

The only independent cinema in Croydon, the David Lean is named after the acclaimed director and producer of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, born in Croydon in 1908. It specialises in classic British and world cinema as well as showing new releases.

Tell your friends... the David Lean Cinema hosted two films from this year's London Film Festival. The Clocktower has also worked alongside prestigious organisations such as the London Mozart Players and Xposure Arts Festival. Check out the listings before planning a trip up to the Barbican or the BFI - Surrey has its own cultural outpost!

And the biggest secret of all?

The Museum of Croydon opened in September 2006, bringing to life the history of the town, plus exhibitions and artefacts from further afield.

The museum's Croydon Art Collection contains more than 2,000 drawings, paintings and prints featuring work by renowned artists Henry Moore and Bridget Riley, as well as local scenes by local artists. The collection will be on display in the Exhibition Gallery from March until May 2009.

The Riesco Collection, which is on permanent display at the Clocktower, is a spectacular set of Chinese ceramics dating from 2,500 BC to the 19th century including some beautiful Ming dynasty bowls. The collection was bequeathed to the London Borough of Croydon by local businessman Raymond Riesco.

  • Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, Croydon CR9 1ET. For more information, call 020 8253 1030

Tell us your secrets...
We'd love to hear about the hidden treasures you've discovered in Surrey. E-mail or write to the usual address. Find more of Surrey's lesser known tourist hot spots here.

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