Played in Britain

Charting the heritage of a nation at play

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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

Played in London chosen as Londonist Book of the Year

Played in London chosen as Londonist Book of the Year

December 12 2014

Following its shortlisting for William Hill Sports of the Year 2014 last month, Played in London, the latest offering from the Played in Britain series, has been selected by the Londonist website as its London Book of the Year.

• For details, visit

National Football Museum launches First World War exhibition and online archive

National Football Museum launches First World War exhibition and online archive

December 11 2014

To commemorate the outbreak of WW1 the National Football Museum in Manchester has launched The Greater Game, an exhibition highlighting the forgotten stories of players and fans during the conflict. The NFM has also joined with a number of football historians to publish online a comprehensive website featuring details of over 480 players from over 70 clubs known to have died in action, together with a fascinating range of personal tales, among them the story of Charlie Bartrop, an FA Cup winner with Barnsley, killed just days before the Armistice, and Sam Wadsworth, who overcame his war wounds to captain England.

• For details of The Greater Game exhibition, visit
• The website and database is available at


War Memorials and Decorative Arts featured in new galleries

November 28 2014

To mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, Played in Britain has launched a gallery showing war memorials at sports clubs around Britain. It is hoped that more clubs will come forward to submit images so that a more comprehensive record can be established. Also this week Played in Britain launches a second new gallery, featuring representations of sport in the decorative arts.

Visit our new galleries here.

Historic athletics venue in Birmingham gains Grade II* listing

Historic athletics venue in Birmingham gains Grade II* listing

November 7 2014

Just granted Grade II* listing, and lying a short distance from the historic Moseley Road Baths, the Friends Institute in Birmingham, built in 1897, was the venue for the first international indoor athletics meeting between England, Scotland and Ireland in 1900, and was also home to the influential Dolobran Athletic Club, whose 700 members were actively supported by the Cadbury family.

Read more on this story at
Read the full listing description as published by English Heritage

First ever listing of a British skatepark announced by English Heritage

First ever listing of a British skatepark announced by English Heritage

October 29 2014

Following in-depth proposals submitted by Played in Britain as a result of research carried out for Played in London, English Heritage has announced that the Rom Skatepark in Hornchurch, Essex, is to be become the first skatepark in Britain to be listed. Heralding the Grade II listing, Played in Britain editor Simon Inglis has described this as a major landmark in the recognition of sporting heritage as a vital component of cultural life, and of skateparks as an integral element of modern urban life. The announcement has also been widely welcomed in the world of skateboarding, and follows last month's decision that skateboarding is to continue at the Southbank Centre, also in London.

Download the Rom Skatepart report (PDF)
Read the full listing description of the Rom Skatepark, as published by English Heritage.
• The Guardian: The Rom, Hornchurch, becomes first skatepark in Europe to get listed status
• Mail Online: London skatepark built in 1978 is made a protected heritage site because of its 'cultural importance'
• London Live video and report: Skatepark becomes a Grade II national treasure
• BBC News video report: Rom Skatepark in Essex listed by English Heritage

Played in London

Sporting heritage at risk – 2014 register published

October 28 2014

A 700m stretch of Edwardian motor racing track at Brooklands, a pair of open air swimming pools dating from 1815 and 1938 respectively, a former Temperance Billiard Hall, a rare example of an 18th century racecourse grandstand and eight former or current indoor swimming baths are among a number of sports and recreational-related buildings on the 2014 Heritage at Risk Register, published in October by English Heritage.

Read the full 'Sporting heritage at risk' story.

Selected titles from Played in Britain

Played in Liverpool

Played in Liverpool

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Ray Physick

Book information | Buy now

Uppies and Downies

Uppies and Downies

The extraordinary football games of Britain

By Hugh Hornby

Book information | Buy now

Played in Birmingham

Played in Birmingham

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Steve Beauchampé & Simon Inglis

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