Played in Britain

Charting the heritage of a nation at play

We publish books about Britain's sporting heritage. If you like an old scoreboard, or a mildewed pavilion; if you would like to know where to find the world's oldest bowling green, or the best Art Deco grandstand in London; if you're fed up with homogenised, commercialised sport, and long to dive into a Victorian swimming pool with gorgeous ceramic tiling; if you think potting balls all afternoon in a dimly-lit billiard hall is definitely not time mis-spent; if you have ever wondered why tennis and suburbia go together so well, then Played in Britain is for you...

Find out more about Played in Britain, our books and our authors

I love this kind of history... The great value of the books is that they help us to remember, to see more clearly, and hopefully to preserve the many ways in which Britain is a country shaped by sport.

Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph

Played in Britain news feed: reporting on Britain's sporting heritage

Opposition mounts to demolition of Braintree & Bocking Recreation Ground pavilion

Opposition mounts to demolition of Braintree & Bocking Recreation Ground pavilion

October 12 2017

Residents and conservationists in Braintree, Essex, are objecting to the proposed demolition of a pavilion gifted in 1927 by the textiles manufacturer and benefactor Sir William Courtauld. Designed by Vincent Harris, the pavilion, although unlisted, has been deemed a Heritage Asset of high local significance, but has been boarded up for several years. Opposite the pavilion there stood until the late 1980s one of the first cantilevered stands in Britain, built in 1928 and also gifted by Courtauld.

For more on this story, visit

Does sport merit a place in England's Top 100?

Does sport merit a place in England's Top 100?

September 27 2017

If you think that any of England's famous sporting venues deserve a slot amongst the 100 top places in the country, Historic England wants to hear from you. And while you are pondering, here are two selections of amazing photos of sporting places from the Historic England's archive, featured in the Played in Britain series.

Six Places where Sporting History Happened

Six Spectacular Swimming Pools

Also worth checking out if you ride a bike is this fabulous selection of England's finest bicycle sheds!

Plaque to long lost running grounds unveiled in Wandsworth

Plaque to long lost running grounds unveiled in Wandsworth

September 18 2017

For years historians had pondered where Robert Sadler's Running Grounds were in south west London, until track and field historian Kevin Kelly located the exact spot in Summerstown, a stone's throw, coincidentally, from the Wimbledon Greyhound track. A plaque to commemorate its location has now been unveiled by Sadler's great great grandson, Robin, and his daughter, and a book published to tell the story of a track which lasted only from 1853-64 but staged some epic races.

Historic pavilion burnt to ground

Historic pavilion burnt to ground

May 25 2017

An ornate Victorian cricket pavilion, once part of the Bletchley Park estate near Milton Keynes, has been destroyed by fire. Bletchley pavilion, which bordered a cricket pitch next door to Milton Keynes College’s Bletchley campus, featured on the Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings List in 2011 but was left dilapidated and abandoned, a reminder of the urgent need to safeguard the future of Britain’s historic buildings.

More details, visit and

Historic Pools gather next at refurbished Lido Ponty

Historic Pools gather next at refurbished Lido Ponty

April 6 2017

The Historic Pools of Britain campaign group, to which Played in Britain is affiliated, is to meet next in Wales on April 27 at the recently refurbished Grade II listed Lido Ponty (which opened in 1927 and re-opened in 2015 after a superb £6.3 million refit). Among the speakers are Welsh sporting heritage expert Darryl Leeworthy and Owen Smith MP.

For more details, visit

Scottish sporting heritage event in Stirling

Scottish sporting heritage event in Stirling

January 24 2017

Stirling University is the venue for a day's programme of talks, discussions and film screenings, celebrating Scotland's sporting heritage. Organised by the Sport in Museums Network for February 24, speakers include shinty expert Hugh MacLennan, Richard McBrearty of the Scottish Football Museum and Angela Howe of the British Golf Museum.

More details, visit

Selected titles from Played in Britain

Played at the Pub

Played at the Pub

The pub games of Britain

By Arthur Taylor

Book information | Buy now

Played in Tyne and Wear

Played in London

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Simon Inglis

Book information | Buy now

Charles Buchan's Arsenal Gift Book
Out of print

Charles Buchan's Arsenal Gift Book

Edited by Simon Inglis

Book information

Full of warm nostalgia, but in a serious meaty way, absorbing detail and fascinating social history… the usual Played in Britain trick (is) luring you into their world and making you care as much as they do about something to which you’d barely given a thought before. And… the quality of the photography is superb.

The Observer

For me, this series of books is invaluable. Previous lack of attention by sports historians to the built environment and the way this reflected or impacted on sport is now being redressed. Long may this excellent work continue.

Richard W Cox (University of Manchester) Sport in History

I love your books... keep this wonderful stuff coming.

Brenda Grace, Pontefract

Hugely impressive and immensely important, Played in Britain (is) rapidly becoming the guardian of the nation's sporting heritage.

A marvellous series - how did we ever do without it?

Brian Salter, East Grinstead

Played in Britain has a reputation for thoroughness and insight... editor Simon Inglis deserves credit for the clarity of his vision.

John Burnett, Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies