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

CAMRA search for historic clubs

CAMRA search for historic clubs

June 19 2014

For over 40 years the Campaign for Real Ale has promoted the cause of historic pubs. Now it is turning its attention to historic clubs - that is Working Men's Clubs, Trades Clubs and the like, several of which have been featured in various Played in Britain titles (such as the 1899 Surbiton Club, left, in Played in London). CAMRA is particularly keen to track down and record examples of well preserved pre-1971 club interiors.

For more details, visit, and you can also download the nomination form and leaflet.

Campaign to reopen historic east London pool relaunches

Campaign to reopen historic east London pool relaunches

June 3 2014

While over in Stratford the £269 million Aquatics Centre has opened to great acclaim, campaigners in neighbouring Hackney have relaunched their campaign to reopen the Grade II listed Haggerston baths, built in 1904 but closed since February 2000. Designed by AWS Cross, Haggerston baths is featured in two Played in Britain books, Great Lengths and Played in London, on sale from September 1.

For more on this story, see

Played in London

Played in London publication date announced

May 16 2014

Played in Britain and English Heritage are delighted to announce that the publication date for the next book in the acclaimed Played in Britain series has now been confirmed. Played in London – charting the heritage of a city at play, written by series editor Simon Inglis, will go on sale on September 1.

For more details, read the full Played in London news story.

Fears for lidos in the southwest

Fears for lidos in the southwest

March 2 2014

Lovers of outdoor swimming fear that the opening of Tinside Lido in Plymouth may have to be delayed this summer after the Grade II listed pool was damaged in recent storms. This follows the severe battering of the Jubilee Pool in Penzance last month, also Grade II, which suffered extensive damage. No doubt the subject will come up at the next meeting of the Historic Pools Network on March 11 at Aston University.

For more on both pools see Liquid Assets and

For more on the Historic Pools Network see our news article from 2013.

German Gymnasium to become restaurant

German Gymnasium to become restaurant

January 16 2014

Plans have been announced to turn one of Britain's oldest surviving gymnasiums into a restaurant and bar complex. The Grade II* German Gymnasium, which opened in 1865 and was restored as part of the King's Cross Central development in 2005, was funded by London's German community and hosted the indoor events of the first National Olympian Games in 1866. Read more about the building in The British Olympics by Martin Polley.

For more on the story see

Home of British boxing listed

Home of British boxing listed

December 2 2013

York Hall, a 1920s baths and laundry complex in Bethnal Green, has been listed Grade II in recognition of the importance of its well preserved interiors and historic association with boxing. The main, first class swimming pool has been boarded over since the late 1940s and is one of the most well loved venues for boxing in the country whilst swimming continues in a pool dating from the 1960s.

For listing details see

For more on York Hall, see our book Great Lengths.

Selected titles from Played in Britain

Charles Buchan's Arsenal Gift Book

Charles Buchan's Arsenal Gift Book

Edited by Simon Inglis

Book information | Buy now

Liquid Assets

Great Lengths

The historic indoor swimming pools of Britain

By Dr Ian Gordon and Simon Inglis

Book information | Buy now

Played in Tyne and Wear

Played in Tyne and Wear

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Lynn Pearson

Book information | Buy now

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