Then and Now: A Look at the British Isles

“Then and Now: A Look at the British Isles,” Ensign, July 1987, 38

Special Issue:
150 Years of the Church in the British Isles

Then and Now:

A Look at the British Isles

16. Finglas Chapel, Dublin, Ireland.

Finglas Chapel, Dublin, Ireland

Two branches meet in this enlarged building set amid rolling hills on the outskirts of Dublin. Next to the chapel is the mission office for the Ireland Dublin Mission.

15. Maidstone Chapel, Maidstone, Kent, England.

Maidstone Chapel, Maidstone, Kent, England

Enormous by British standards, this impressive stake center is one of the newest in England.

14. Newtownabbey Chapel, Northern Ireland.

Newtownabbey Chapel, Northern Ireland

In the Belfast Stake, this building houses the Newtownabbey Ward. The front door opens to a lovely view of the bay, or loch, leading out to the Irish Sea. Recently remodeled and expanded, the building is typical of the modern structures being built in areas of great growth in Britain.

13. Inverness Chapel, Scotland.

Inverness Chapel, Scotland

Unusual design and distinctive “stone-cladding” were used to assure that this meetinghouse blends with its surroundings in northern Scotland.

12. London Temple, New Chapel, Lingfield, Surrey.

London Temple, New Chapel, Lingfield, Surrey

Dedicated in September 1958, the temple has become a great source of spiritual sustenance throughout the British Isles and western Europe.

11. Solihull, Church Offices (Exterior).

Solihull, Church Offices

This building near Birmingham is the administrative headquarters for the Church in the British Isles.

10. Solihull, Church Offices (Interior).

Solihull, Church Offices
Solihull, Church Offices

Besides the coordination of the seminary and institute program, the business conducted here includes all accounting and statistical recording for Church real estate, architecture, and membership in this part of the world.

9. Llanelli Chapel, Wales.

Llanelli Chapel, Wales

This is thought to be the first Latter-day Saint chapel built in Britain. Joseph Smith prophesied while in Carthage that Welshman Dan Jones would go to Wales and build up the kingdom. Elder Jones later served two missions there, baptizing thousands.

8. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

On 18 May 1840, Orson Pratt arrived in Scotland. The next day, he climbed to this high promontory and petitioned the Lord for 200 Scottish converts to the Church. Nearly three times that many were baptized by the time of the Edinburgh conference on 6 April 1841.

7. Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland.

Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland

This extraordinarily beautiful site is where, on 31 July 1840, John Taylor baptized Thomas Tate, the first convert on the Emerald Isle.

6. Liverpool Music Hall.

Liverpool Music Hal

In Liverpool, John Taylor “hired for one year” one of the largest and finest halls of the day to hold weekly meetings. The hall had a capacity of 1500, and during that year each of the Apostles serving in Britain spoke here.

5. John Benbow’s Hill Farm, Castle Frome, Herefordshire.

John Benbow’s Hill Farm

Wilford Woodruff was directed to this remote place on 4 March 1840. There he met John Benbow, a yeoman farmer and most influential member of the United Brethren, who helped convert entire congregations prepared to receive the gospel. The pond on his farm where hundreds were baptized has changed very little from that time.

4. Baptismal site, the River Ribble, Preston.

Baptismal site, the River Ribble, Preston

Sunday morning, 31 July 1837, nine converts were baptized in the River Ribble while thousands of people strolled through the park beside the river.

3. River Ribble Valley.

River Ribble Valley

According to the Prophet Joseph, the villages of Chatburn, Downham, and Clithero rest in an area that ancient prophets had dedicated for the preaching of the gospel. Heber C. Kimball reaped a bountiful harvest of converts from these villages in 1838, and when the time came for him to leave, he was followed by great numbers bidding him a fond and sorrowful farewell. So rich was the outpouring of love that he wept and removed his hat as he walked through town.

2. The Obelisk, Preston Market Square.

The Obelisk, Preston Market Square

Once in Liverpool, the elders went north to Preston, where Joseph Fielding’s brother lived. It was the eve of elections, and the elders saw a banner proclaiming “Truth Will Prevail,” to which the seven cried aloud, “Amen! Thanks be to God! Truth will prevail.” A week later, at the base of this obelisk, some 5,000 citizens heard Elder Isaac Russell preach of the Restoration.

1. Albert Docks, the River Mersey, Liverpool.

Albert Docks, the River Mersey, Liverpool

Seven missionaries, led by Heber C. Kimball, arrived 19 July 1837 aboard the Garrick. Eager to be ashore and begin his labors, Elder Kimball leaped from the boat “within six or seven feet of the pier.”

It all started that summer July day in 1837 when modern-day elders of Israel leaped ashore—at least Elder Heber C. Kimball did in his eagerness—and set in motion events that established the restored gospel in the British Isles.

From England to Scotland the message went, and from England to Ireland to the Isle of Man to Wales. To a thousand towns and hamlets went the message of the Restoration, and into tens of thousands of hearts gospel truths were planted that even today bear fruit in the lives of thousands of Latter-day Saints.

The following photographs symbolize the roots and branches of these past 150 years of gospel growth in Britain. They reach from Dublin’s beautiful Finglas chapel to Surrey’s stately temple to the memorable sites of yesteryear, places unforgettable to many early Saints who could write as did the prophet of the waters of Mormon—“How beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer.” (Mosiah 18:30.)

Photography is by England’s John Phillipson and Utah’s W. Dee Halverson.