Christ Church stands in an imposing position at the top of Kendrick Road up on the western edge of Southern Hill on Chistchurch Road. It must be one of the most imposing views of a church in England.It is certainly one of Reading's most notable landmarks
It is one of those High Victorian structures which acclaims the Early English style of nineteenth century architecture, being built in 1861-2 by Henry Woodyer (1816-1896) has about 300 commissions to his name in southern England. Religion dominated his architectural practice, which he regarded in service to the Church. Many of his commissions were new churches or restorations, as well as parsonages and schools (including Eton College, and Cranleigh School)
Woodyer's work is in the robust style of Victorian Gothic Revival in the spirit of Puguin, although some of his restorations can seem insensitive. At its best however. his work is of a robust and energetic vigour rich in colour and decoration and his had a fondness for bold and dramatic spires. His was a convincing vision of the Middle Ages. His buildings speak of an era of moral certainty and confident prosperity.
The tower and steeple are the main features, completed 1875 (though the carving was unfinished). It is a three 3 stage tower with angle buttresses with stepped plinth and various set offs, capped by diagonal pinnacles taking fliers to steeple. It has gargoyles. The total height to top of steeple 164 ft.
The church was originally planned as a 'chapel of ease' for St Giles', to cope with an expanding parish. Christchurch was enlarged 1874
Inside it has a six bay aisled Nave and lower three bay Chancel. The Chancel has a later Vestry (as north transept externally with arcaded string, pointed doorway and plate tracery occulus). The South Chapel is from. 1874.
The Church has a nearby Vicarage (in the gift of the Bishop of Reading) which was built by Alfred Waterhouse.
English Heritage listing building details are: "Nave clerestory consists of small foiled lancets set in a bold ashlar blind traceried arcade. Aisle windows also cusped, divided by buttresses. Geometric tracery window to chancel and 5 light decorated-style east window. Uncarved crockets to south porch. Interior. ruin feature is the chancel arch whose upper part is filled with reticulated tracery (said to represent the Veil of the Temple ). Arcade has Purbeck shafts and gablets to capitals which have large naturalistic flowers. cusped rere-arches to clerestory. Queen post roof with wind braces. Collar purlin roof with scissor braces in chancel. Pulpit, also probably by Woodyer, in 2 stages. Low flint wall about 4 ft high and with chamfered capping to street"