This week in Church history

50 years ago

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, who would later become president of the Church, made a historic tour of the British Mission as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in June and July of 1955.

According to the July 23, 1955, Church News, "The Church official arrived at the London Airport on June 22, to begin a 23-day tour of the mission. His is the first such scheduled tour under the new program of yearly visits by the General Authorities to all missions announced recently by the First Presidency."

The article continued, "Elder Kimball's grandfather, Heber C. Kimball, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, was the first missionary to arrive in Great Britain, reaching there in 1837. The grandson has visited many places of interest during his tour which pertained to the first missionary endeavors of his ancestor and associates including the late President Wilford Woodruff."

Elder Kimball, who was accompanied by his wife, Camilla, dedicated several Church buildings during the tour, including the Preston Branch chapel in England.

The article reported of Preston: "It was here that Elder Kimball's grandfather and the first missionaries did their work after landing on July 22, 1837."

Besides several stops in England, Elder Kimball's itinerary included visits to Belfast, Ireland; and Glasgow, Scotland.