The London Borough of Croydon is in South London and is classed as being a part of Outer London. It covers an area of 87 square kilometres and is the largest Borough by population – estimated at 342,000. The Borough of Croydon’s website proudly states that, if Croydon were a city, it would be the 8th largest in the UK.
Croydon is renowned as one of the centres of culture in London and the South East of England. Institutions such as the major arts and entertainment centre, Fairfield Halls, help it to achieve this accolade. Fairfield Halls features a concert hall and the Ashcroft Theatre, the Halls are the home of the London Mozart Players. Fairfield Halls is regularly used by the BBC for tv, radio and orchestral recordings.
Annually, for 10 years up until 2010, Croydon staged a summer festival celebrating the area’s Afro-Caribbean and Indian cultures with audiences reaching over 50,000people. An internet radio station – Croydon Radio, is run by local residents, and the Borough also has its own local TV station – Croydon TV.
A well-known local landmark is Croydon Clocktower – an arts and museum complex located on Katharine Street. The venue contains the Museum of Croydon, the David Lean Cinema – offering a programme of art house and indie films, and a Youth Ambassadors group.
The Clocktower is owned and run by London Borough of Croydon and is actually the tower of Town Hall. The building is also the home of Croydon’s Central Library.
A notable success of The Clocktower was when it held the Picasso exhibition in March to May 1995 – this was locally nicknamed Picasso’s ‘Croydon Period’.
There has been a school of art in Croydon since 1868, and today this takes the form of Croydon School of Art . The school offers both college- and degree-level courses across a range of disciplines encouraging creativity and expression. College-level courses are awarded by the University of the Arts London and university-level courses are validated by the University of Sussex. Recent alumni include Noel Fielding of Mighty Boosh, and Never Mind the Buzzcocks fame.
Croydon’s Economic Development Plan 2013-2018 recommended that the Borough create Enterprise and Innovation Hubs – using existing and purpose-built workspaces to create a collaborative network of small and medium enterprises to share knowledge and resources and build up a local business ecosystem.
An example of a hub that supports the Creative and Cultural Industries is Matthews Yard. This is an arts, cultural and community hub in the centre of Croydon, just off Surrey Street.
The hub provides affordable co-working space for small businesses and freelance workers – it provides administration services such as printing and copying, and business-grade WIFI. There is currently capacity for up to 60 members to co-work at any one time. It also has a café that provides, in their own words, “craft beer, fine wine, quality coffee and the best burgers Croydon has ever seen”.
A regular user of this is CroydonCreatives – this is a monthly gathering of web-based workers from in and around Croydon. They describe themselves as a community of designers, developers and digital creatives. The monthly get-togethers were incepted to create a “break from the screen to chat about what [they] love. Talk about the web, print, typography and design”.
Further flexible workspaces and serviced office options around Croydon can be found at on the Croydon section of The Office Providers website.
London Borough of Croydon provides business support advice for start-up companies and for those looking to grow their business, more details can be found through their dedicated business section of the website.
This study will continue to monitor progress in the Borough with a focus on development of existing and new Enterprise and Innovation Hubs.