27 November 2017
Plans submitted for Bristol's oldest school
Further expansion planned for Bristol Cathedral Choir School

Applications have been submitted for planning and listed building consent for dramatic interventions at Bristol Cathedral Choir School. This historic school within the Cathedral precinct is thought to date back to the twelfth century.

We know that Robert Fitzharding donated money to found a house of Augustinian canons in 1142; this would have included provision for a small school, to be run by the monks.

More recently, as the school website tells us, the fee-paying Bristol Cathedral School closed in the summer of 2008. Its replacement Academy, Bristol Cathedral Choir School, opened in September 2008, with its official opening by HRH The Princess Royal taking place in February 2010. This period was characterised by a major investment in new facilities on the west side of College Square: opened by Lord Adonis in September 2011.

We now have the opportunity to re-organise the East end of the site to update facilities and to create new teaching space to provide for an increase of 210 students over the next seven years.

Childs + Sulzmann architects were appointed for our experience in both education and conservation. The first problem was to find a way to reconfigure the existing buildings to generate some space for the new interventions. The second challenge was to find an appropriate architecture for this highly sensitive site.

We worked closely with the school, the Fabric Advisory Committee and Historic England.

“We particularly enjoyed discussions with The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England who convened a panel to consider our proposals and encouraged a thoroughly contemporary solution,” says Director, Matt Parsons, leading this team at C+SA.

The new buildings will be clearly of the 21st century and built in the best materials to become part of the history of the Cathedral, the school and the precinct.

The first phase of works to refurbish the Grade II listed Abbey House was completed in September for the start of the academic year. The next phase is expected to start at Easter next year.