London England Temple
The London England Temple is the 12th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the first temple built in Great Britain and the second built on the European continent. The 42,652-square-foot temple’s exterior is concrete and steel structure, with brick masonry walls faced with cut Portland limestone. The spire is sheathed in copper.
The single copper-sheathed spire didn’t originally have an angel Moroni statue, but the Church added a gold-leafed statue of the Book of Mormon prophet to the temple’s 189-foot spire in 2008 as part of a Jubilee of Thanksgiving celebration to commemorate the temple’s 50th year.
Plans to construct the temple were announced 10 August 1953. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 27 August 1955. Three years after the first temple on the European continent, the Bern Switzerland Temple was dedicated, David O. McKay, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1951 to 1970, dedicated the London England Temple on 7 September 1958. The third temple on the continent, the Freiberg Germany Temple, was built in 1985.
The London England Temple has a baptistry, four ordinance rooms and eight sealing rooms. The temple’s crowning room is the celestial room, which symbolizes the peace available for those who live the gospel of Jesus Christ and can be in God’s presence.The temple serves Latter-day Saints in England and Wales.
London England Temple Location
The London England Temple is located approximately 25 miles south of London, just a few miles east of the London Gatwick Airport. The temple sits on 32 acres of estate-like grounds with gardens and a reflecting pond in Newchapel, Surrey, England. This rectangular edifice reaches 160 feet high where the exterior is adorned with white limestone and topped by a lead-coated copper spire. Surrounding the temple are gardens, which compose two-thirds of the acreage. Oak trees, spacious lawns, an ornamental pond, and colorful rhododendrons and azaleas beautify the grounds of the temple throughout the year. The temple shares its grounds with the historic Manor House (a three-story, 40-room Elizabethan-style mansion) and a visitors’ center. The visitors’ center windows frame a white Christus statue, which looks out over the temple grounds with open arms. The Manor House has served various purposes for the Church over the years including patron housing and Missionary Training Center.
After the property was purchased for the building of the temple, President David O. McKay and Church architect Edward Anderson spent time deciding where to place the temple. The land selected by President McKay "had been partially covered by a lily pond, which had left the ground marshy, and the engineers feared that it would not be suitable for the temple's foundation. President McKay, however, insisted, that this was where the temple was to be built. When work began on the site, workers discovered that beneath the boggy ground was solid shale at the proper depth to support the temple." 
Rich history occupies the land in which the London England Temple rests. Its history can be traced back to early Christianity, as an area Celts, Romans, Saxons, and Danes once occupied, to modern history, since the estate of Sir Winston Churchill's property adjoins the grounds of the temple.
History of the Church in England
The first missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived in England in July 1837. The response was so positive in Preston, England, that a small congregation was organized only a few weeks after the missionaries arrived. The first congregation of the Church in Preston which was established in 1837 is the oldest continuously functioning unit of the Church.
Missionary work continued in England, and the Church grew through the efforts of both North American missionaries and new English converts. Many English Latter-day Saints immigrated to the United States with the help of the Perpetual Emigration Fund established by Church President, Brigham Young. The revolving fund provided for the immigration of Church members in need who would later repay their loans to help other immigrants.
In 1894, Church leaders began encouraging European members to stay and strengthen the Church in their home countries. Despite the evacuation of American missionaries from England during World War II, local members continued to share the gospel and Church membership grew. Eight years after World War II ended, the Church announced the construction of the London England Temple and broke ground in August 1955.
Facts about the London England Temple
- The London England Temple was the second temple built in Europe, following the Bern Switzerland Temple (1955), and the first built in the United Kingdom.
- The London England Temple was originally named the London Temple.
- The London England Temple was originally constructed with a single ordinance room equipped with a motion-picture presentation of the endowment.
- The Magna Carta was signed in 1215 in the same county of Surrey where the London England Temple is located.
- The site where the London England Temple stands, known as Newchapel Farm, was listed in the Domesday Book of William the Conquerer.
- The original design of the London England Temple called for a spire of perforated aluminum, similar in appearance to the spires of the Oakland California Temple. The perforations were later removed from the design, however, in favor of a solid sheath of lead-coated copper.
London England Temple Open House, Dedication, Renovation, and Rededication
Upon completion of the building of the London England Temple, the doors were opened to members and non-members alike for three weeks. At that time more than 76,000 people toured the temple, wherein only 50,000 were expected. On 7 September 1958, President David O. McKay dedicated the London England Temple. Following the open house and dedication of the temple, there were over 1,200 convert baptisms within the next year.
After thirty-two years, the London Temple was closed for remodeling and refurbishing. An additional 8,500 feet was added, as well as, the fourth floor. This time, the temple open house was preceded by posters and flyers and personal invitations being distributed throughout the area. In addition, advertisements and stories in local and national newspapers were featured on the British Broadcasting Corporation.
President Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the temple on 18 October 1992. Having served a mission in England as a young man in the 1930s, President Hinckley had tender feelings about missionary work and the Saints in England. When he rededicated the temple he quoted some words he had said at the original dedication in 1958:
- This building cannot be reckoned alone in terms of pounds sterling; it must be reckoned in terms of struggle and sacrifice and devotion and loyalty and love and faith and testimony and conviction. What a price it has cost! But it has been worth every farthing because it now offers to the people of this and other lands the wholeness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.
A second British temple was built in 1998 in Preston, England.
- "Making of a Temple," Millennial Star; September 1958, p 278
- Official LDS London England Temple page
- London England Temple page
- Mormon Temple Ordinances - ReligionFacts
- Mormon Temples - Lightplanet
- Mormon Temples and Secrecy
- Mormon Missionaries - BBC Religion & Ethics
- Joseph Smith - American Prophet
- A video about the London England Temple