Completed construction Project

Christ Church - Clifton

Clifton, Bristol


community, heritage




May 2021

Project Outline

Refurbishment and structural alterations to community building


Built in the mid-19th century, Christ church, Clifton has been a prominent landmark in the city for over a century. In recent years, the church authorities recognised the need to revitalise the crypt space beneath the church, which was previously used as a storage area, to create a vibrant community hub. We were appointed to undertake the complex task of transforming the crypt into a functional space that would meet the needs of the local community.

This project posed several challenges, both structural and logistical, and was one of the most complex structural challenges we have faced to date. The crypt space was characterised by low ceilings, narrow doorways, and limited natural light. The existing floor levels were also uneven, making it difficult to navigate the space. To top it off, the project had to be completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which introduced additional challenges related to social distancing, material sourcing, and labor availability.

Kitto's scope of work included the following key elements:

  1. Temporary Support of Stonework Columns and Arches: Kitto designed and installed a system of temporary supports to enable the removal of the structural supporting walls in the crypt. This allowed for the creation of a large open space that could be subdivided into smaller rooms using soundproof sliding walls.
  2. Lowering Floor Levels: Existing floor levels within the structure needed to be lowered to create a more accessible space. We proposed underpinning the existing foundations to achieve this, which required careful excavation and construction works to avoid damaging the surrounding structures.
  3. Installation of Structural Steelwork: Once the floor levels were lowered, Kitto installed new structural steelwork to support the church roof and provide additional strength to the structure. This allowed for the removal of the remaining supporting walls, opening up the space for community use.
  4. Provision of New Commercial Kitchen: A new fully fitted commercial kitchen was provided to cater for functions and events in the new community space.
  5. Refurbishment of Pre-School Area: An existing pre-school located in a section of the crypt was completely refurbished, including new flooring, walls, and windows.
  6. Accessibility Improvements: To ensure that the entire crypt community area and pre-school were accessible, we installed a new lift to provide accessible access from the main church above. Temporary classrooms and play areas for the pre-school were also provided on site for the duration of the project.
  7. Project Management: Kitto managed the project from start to finish, coordinating with contractors, suppliers, and church authorities to ensure that the project was completed on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.


The project was completed successfully, transforming the crypt space into a vibrant community hub that meets the needs of the local community. The new space features a large open area for functions, individual rooms for smaller gatherings and seminars, and a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen. The pre-school area was also completely refurbished, providing a safe and stimulating environment for young children.

The project has had a significant impact on the local community, providing a welcoming and inclusive space for people of all ages. The church authorities have reported increased footfall and engagement, with many community events and activities taking place in the new space.

The project at Christ Church Crypt was the most complex structural engineering project ever undertaken by Kitto. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the unique requirements of the project, we managed to deliver a successful outcome that exceeded the client's expectations. The project demonstrates Kitto's ability to take on complex projects and deliver innovative solutions that meet the needs of the client and the community. With a project value of £1.5m, the investment in the community hub has already paid dividends, bringing people together and enhancing the lives of those who live and work in Clifton, Bristol.


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