Elmthorpe Convent

  • Elmthorpe Convent, Oxford

  • Elmthorpe Convent, Oxford 3

  • Elmthorpe Convent, Oxford 2

A unique 12-bedroom convent set in landscaped grounds, providing modern accommodation with communal areas and a chapel.


This scheme involved the construction of a traditional red brick replacement convent to improve living and working areas for the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco. The building which provides sleeping accommodation, a chapel and communal facilities, is designed for low-maintenance and energy efficiency. It is also equipped with disabled facilities and a lift.

Key sustainable features of the new building include intelligent lighting, roof lights in darker corridor areas, water saving devices and the use of construction materials incorporating higher ‘U’ values than required by Building Regulations in order to minimise heat loss.

External works comprised a new entrance road with safer access from a busy junction, new parking areas, garaging and landscaping, including a ‘public’ garden at the front of the building and more private gardens at the rear. The project was completed in two phases to enable the sisters to take up residence before the old convent was demolished.


  • Building in close proximity to an occupied site presented health and safety risks
  • Difficult site access from a busy road junction
  • Construction on previously undisturbed land and proximity to nearby ancient Roman kilns


  • Rigorous health and safety systems were put in place to ensure the safety of the sisters and convent visitors
  • Difficult access into the site required careful management of construction traffic, with deliveries timed for agreed off-peak periods
  • An archaeological assessment of the site was arranged to identify any Roman ruins on the site
  • Careful management of construction noise was implemented to minimise disruption to the convent’s day-to-day activities


“We’re all delighted with our new building.  Beard has gone out of its wa to look after us during this time and to minimise disruption to our daily lives.”

Sister Lesley O’Sullivan, Elmthorpe Covent


Daughters of Mary Help of Christians

Contract value

£2.6 million


RHA Architects

Quantity surveyor

Williams Surveyors

Contract duration

15 months

Form of contract

JCT 05

Procurement Method


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