We are currently completing Phase 3,
after successfuly undertaking Phases 1 & 2 in the building
of annexes linking the church to spaces for administration
and community activities and the construction of a new
church hall and pre-school hall.
The exterior of the church is a soaring Gothic design, possibly
modelled on the tower of Magdalen College, Oxford and the
building is listed grade II*.
Consecratated in 1840, the
church was designed by the Jerrard Brothers to be a landmark
amongst the Regency buildings which were springing up rapidly
in the surrounding Lansdown Estate in the highly fashionable
and fast developing spa town of Cheltenham.
To provide enhanced facilities for both the
congregation and local users on a very confined site alongside
this magnificent church of Christchurch.
Details of the ambitious £800,00 project are described
Whilst the church itself is splendid and was
in good condition, its entrances, church hall, parish office
and WC's were woefully inadequate, inflexible and inconvenient
for current and perceived future needs.
original church hall was also in poor structural condition
with inadequate foundations, spalling and leaning stonework
and a spreading roof and was separated from the church by
a draughty and unattractive open passageway.
The whole complex is well used both on Sundays
and throughout the week and houses a thriving playgroup.
The church is used by several local schools for their larger
services and for concerts such as the prestigious Cheltenham
Music Festival as well as by the town for major civic services.
Works undertaken by Thomas Holding Ltd
Phase One (completed 1999)
" The first stage consisted of a series of enabling
works to provide alternative accommodation for the parish
office, choir vestry, WC's and playgroup to allow these areas
to be released to the main contractor. The majority of the
enabling work was carried out by a small but enthusiastic
team of parishioners.
Competitive tenders for
the First Phase of the main redevelopment were obtained in
March 1999 and Thomas Holding Ltd was appointed to carry
out the work under the JCT Intermediate form of contract.
This involved enlarging the entrance doors
into the church, to eliminate a serious bottleneck, and upgrading
the south porch to provide a much more warm and welcoming
atmosphere. As part of this, the porch ceiling was remodelled
to reflect the beamed ceiling in the nave of the church and
to incorporate a splendid 32 light chandelier.
Also during this phase, the adjoining vestry
area was completely gutted and refitted to provide an enlarged
parish office, a small meeting room and better WC's for both
men and women. This phase was completed in October 1999.
Phase Two (completed 2000)
During the middle of 1999, a price was negotiated with Thomas
Holding Limited to follow on to the Second Phase.
of the demolition of the 1950's extension to the rear of
the old school house and the construction of a new multi
purpose hall of approximately 120 m2, together with a new
properly equipped kitchen and a large table and chair store.
The kitchen and stores are located between the new and old
halls in order to serve both buildings.
The external space between the church and new hall has been
attractively hard landscaped to provide an outdoor play area
and courtyard for use in good weather. This phase was completed
at a cost of approximately £240,000 and was opened
by the Bishop of Gloucester, David Bentley on 8 October 2000."
Church Building, December
2000: (Christopher Mullen, The Falcon
The third and final phase of the work, almost completed,
has extensively redeveloped the old school hall while retaining
and restoring, and rebuilding its front elevation.
The building was in very poor structural
condition with inadequate foundations, spalling stonework
and a spreading roof due to a structurally insufficient truss
design and has required extensive reconstruction.
A roof over the open area remaining has also been constructed,
between the present buildings in order to link them all together
into a single complex and to provide a large foyer space
which will provide covered access directly to the main body
of the church, the parish office, w.c's and the meeting room.
The foyer now has a glass vaulted roof to retain the spectacular
views of the magnificent church tower, which is floodlit
The Architects - The Falconer Parnership
The Falconer Partnership, of Stroud, was selected to prepare
proposals in early 1996, to address the problems of upgrading
the facilities at Christchurch to provide an enhanced and
integrated complex, which would be much less intimidating,
more flexible and user friendly for both the congregation
and the surrounding community.
The Falconer Partnership had a difficult and pivotal role,
especially as the project architect, Christopher Mullen,
was a member of the congregation, who had previously served
a three year term as Church Warden.
Following detailed discussions with the Church's Development
Committee, The Falconer Partnership produced an overall development
plan which was split into three phases. This enabled the
church to use most of its facilities during re-development
and also fitted in with the important task of fund-raising
to meet the costs.