The LDS Church took root in Preston, Lancashire, when the first Mormon missionaries arrived in 1837. Because of its place in LDS Church history and the growth of membership in Preston, LDS Church presidentGordon B. Hinckley announced the area would be the site for England's second temple (the first was in Surrey, near London). The Preston England Temple is located in the town of Chorley, 10 miles (16 km) south of Preston, in Lancashire. It is the centrepiece of a 15-acre (6 hectare) complex that includes a stake centre, a missionary training centre, a family history facility, a distribution centre, temple patron housing, temple missionary accommodations and a grounds building. The temple itself has a modern, single-spire design and an exterior finish of Olympia white granite from Sardinia. The white granite exterior and zinc roof have caused it to be described as reminiscent of England's old churches.
Hinckley dedicated the Preston England Temple on June 7, 1998. The temple has four ordinance rooms and four sealing rooms, and is the largest Latter-day Saint temple in Europe, at 69,630 square feet (6,470 m²). The older London England Temple is smaller, at 46,174 square feet (4,290 m²) and is the second-largest temple in Europe, followed by the Madrid Spain Temple at 45,800 square feet (4,250 m2).
In the summer of 2013 the church staged a pageant on the grounds of the temple, along the lines of the Hill Cumorah Pageant and others done in the U.S., but with a very British theme. It was the first official church pageant performed outside of North America. The pageant script was written by Alex Mackenzie-Johns, a British Latter-day Saint, and was under the guidance of Stephen C. Kerr, a British area seventy.