Croydon Clocktower on Katharine Street in Croydon contains the Museum of Croydon, the Riesco Gallery with a collection of Chinese pottery and ceramics, a café and bar. The museum includes exhibits about the important black composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875–1912) who lived most of his life in Croydon.
The centre is owned and run by Croydon Council, and also houses Croydon's Central Library. The building links into the Town Hall and some areas of the building, most notably the Braithwaite Hall, are part of the original town hall and library complex, built in 1892–1896 to a design by Charles Henman Jun. The Clocktower is the tower of the Town Hall. New buildings were built alongside the Town Hall and were opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994. A notable early success was the Picasso exhibition in March to May 1995 named Picasso's Croydon Period.
The Clocktower also incorporates a Youth Ambassadors group, aimed at bringing more young people to the Clocktower. The Clocktower also used to include the David Lean Cinema, for art house and independent films, and the Braithwaite Hall, which was used for concerts, theatre and children's shows, until 2011 when its funding was cut by the Council, and it lost its Arts Council RFO status.
Croydon Central Library, located on four floors inside the Clocktower, is Croydon's main public library, part of the Croydon Libraries arm of the council.
Croydon Central Library offers a wide range of books, CDs, DVDs and videos for reference and loan. Books are available in most of the local communities' languages. The Wordwise collection of books caters for children who suffer from dyslexia, and there is a large and extensive gay and lesbian collection, the largest range in London. Level 0 contains customer service desks and a large children's library. The newspaper archive on the top floor includes all the major newspapers dating back to the 1990s.
Other features include periodicals, community information, homework help clubs and reading groups, as well as a local studies library and extensive archives. An Enquiry service is available, as well as a Tourist Information Centre, one of three in South East London. The library also offers a number of free-to-access PCs with internet connection.
The Clocktower Café is situated just outside the library.
Museum of Croydon
David Lean Cinema