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

Borders exhibition celebrates Shrove Tuesday Anglo-French entente

Borders exhibition celebrates Shrove Tuesday Anglo-French entente

February 1 2016

Jedburgh is the location of a unique exhibition celebrating the Shrove Tuesday tradition of Ba' games both in the Borders and in France. Put together by Played in Britain contributor Hugh Hornby, author of Uppies and Downies and photographers Peter Holme and Oliver Got, the exhibition runs from Feb 10-13 to coincide with the week's Ba' games in the area.

• For more details, download the PDF

Plans for rugby museum at historic Edinburgh ground

Plans for rugby museum at historic Edinburgh ground

January 28 2016

Plans have been announced by Scotland's oldest rugby club, Edinburgh Academical Football Club (formed 1857), for the redevelopment of their Raeburn Place ground, to include a museum of rugby. Rugby's first international, Scotland v England, took place there on March 27 1871, watched by a crowd of 4,000.

• For more on this story, visit raeburnplacefoundation.org
• For the history of the Edinburgh Accies, visit edinburghaccies.com

Listed Chester swimming baths re-opened by Duke of Westminster

Listed Chester swimming baths re-opened by Duke of Westminster

January 26 2016

Completed in 1901, Chester's Grade II City Baths have been officially re-opened by the Duke of Westminster following a council-funded refurbishment programme costing nearly £3m. The Tudorbethan building, run since 1977 by the City of Chester Swimming Club, has two pools, named Atlantic and Pacific.

• For more on the story, visit chesterchronicle.co.uk
• For more on the City Baths, see Great Lengths

German Gymnasium re-opens as 'dining and drinking destination'

German Gymnasium re-opens as 'dining and drinking destination'

November 12 2015

Located next to London's St Pancras station, the Grade II listed German Gymnasium, built in 1865 by the city's then large German community as a gymnastic and social centre, has re-opened as a designer bar and restaurant, re-imagined by the architecture and design studio Conran and Partners. The building has featured in two Played in Britain titles; The British Olympics (it hosted events in the National Olympian Games in 1866), and in Played in London, which shows how the structure was originally hidden behind terraced houses.

• For more on this story, visit cladglobal.com
• For the German Gymnasium website, visit germangymnasium.com

Historic England publish major study of Turkish Baths

Historic England publish major study of Turkish Baths

November 10 2015

Although not directly related to sporting heritage, Played in Britain is delighted to herald the publication of the first ever major study of Britain's historic turkish baths, many of which are located within swimming baths featured in Great Lengths. Published by Historic England, the book is the culmination of a lifetime's study by expert Malcolm Shifrin.

For details of the book, visit historicengland.org.uk.

Sporting heritage at risk – 2015 register published

Sporting heritage at risk – 2015 register published

November 4 2015

Once again, swimming pools dominate the sporting and recreation-related category of buildings on Historic England's latest Heritage at Risk Register published in October. Six of the nine deemed to be at risk are Grade II*, indicating that they are particularly important buildings of more than special interest – only 5.5% of listed buildings in England are Grade II*.

However, two sports-related buildings have been removed from the Register – a former swimming pool in Brentford and a pub with a long association with Lord's cricket ground – as they have both been restored.

Read the full story.


Selected titles from Played in Britain

Uppies and Downies

Uppies and Downies

The extraordinary football games of Britain

By Hugh Hornby

Book information | Buy now

Played in Glasgow

Played in Glasgow

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Ged O'Brien

Book information | Buy now

Played in Birmingham

Bowled Over

The bowling greens of Britain

By Hugh Hornby

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.

www.wordofsport.com

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