Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Preston Temple modern classical design

Published: Saturday, Oct. 29, 1994

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The architect's rendering of the Preston England Temple was released this week by the First Presidency.

The temple, to be built in an area in the British Isles rich in Church history, will be of modern classical design. It will have an exterior finish of light-colored European granite and its roof will be of zinc. The temple's total floor area will be 65,000 square feet on three levels, with four ordinance rooms and four sealing rooms. A statue of the Angel Moroni will top the temple's spire.Located on the north edge of Chorley, a town adjacent to Preston, Lancashire, in the northwest of England, the temple site overlooks rolling hills to the east and a greenbelt area to the north.

The site includes 13 acres on which plans call for the construction of a stake center, a missionary training center, apartments for temple workers and lodging for patrons who must travel great distances to attend the temple. The complex also will include a reception center that will house a Beehive Clothing outlet and a family history center. A small pond on the property will be incorporated into the landscape design.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, broke ground for the temple on June 12. Also participating in the groundbreaking ceremony were Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve; Elder Kenneth Johnson, president of the Europe North Area; and his counselors, Elder Hugh W. Pinnock and Elder Graham W. Doxey, all members of the Seventy. More than 10,500 members of the Church from throughout Britain attended the groundbreaking ceremony. (See Church News June 18, 1994.)

The Preston England Temple will serve members of the Church in the northern part of England, and Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Work is nearly completed for laying underground utilities and building roads at the site. Some landscaping and perimeter fencing also have been done. Construction on the temple is expected to begin in early summer of 1995; construction of the temple is expected to take two to 21/2 years. Architecture for the temple is by Building Design Partnership, based in Manchester, England.

The Preston England Temple will be the second LDS temple in England. The London Temple, located 25 miles south of London, was dedicated Sept. 7-9, 1958, by President David O. McKay. After having undergone extensive renovation, it was rededicated Oct. 18-20, 1992.

It was during the second day of ceremonies to rededicate the London Temple that President Hinckley announced on Oct. 19, 1992, that a site in the general area of Preston had been acquired in anticipation of the future construction of a temple. (See Church News Oct. 24, 1992.)

Missionary work in the British Isles began in 1837 when Elder Heber C. Kimball of the Council of the Twelve and six others arrived by boat at Liverpool. Under inspiration of the Lord and pursuing a contact with a family of Joseph Fielding, he decided to go to Preston and begin missionary work there. The first converts in Great Britain were baptized in 1837 in the River Ribble at Preston. The success he had is legendary even though he labored less than one year here on his first mission.

On April 6, 1840, Elder Kimball arrived in England a second time in the company of Elders Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt and George A. Smith. Two other apostles, Elders Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor, were already in England. Elder Willard Richards was ordained on April 14, 1840, bringing to eight the number of apostles laboring in the British Isles. They had great success.

Thousands of converts emigrated from the British Isles to join the Saints in America. However, many stalwart members remained in the British Isles where today there are fourth-, fifth-, and even sixth- and seventh-generation Latter-day Saints.

The Preston Ward is the longest continuously functioning unit in the Church anywhere in the world.