Played in Britain

Charting the heritage of a nation at play

Now available

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personally signed by author Simon Inglis

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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

Directory of Historic Sporting Assets in London now available online

Directory of Historic Sporting Assets in London now available online

February 27 2015

To accompany the publication of Played in London, Historic England has now made available a directory drawn up by the Played in Britain team listing all the sports-related buildings and sites in London of historic interest, borough by borough. Complete with photographs, short descriptions, addresses and links to the relevant listing descriptions, the 179 page directory covers all the buildings mentioned in Played in London, plus many others that did not make the final cut, and is available to download as a PDF, free of charge.

Download the London directory from

World's oldest purpose-built motor racing track to receive Heritage Lottery funding

World's oldest purpose-built motor racing track to receive Heritage Lottery funding

February 26 2015

Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, is to receive nearly £4.7m from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of project that will see the restoration of a section of the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit. Opened in 1907, the track, which staged Britain's first Grand Prix in 1926, originally extended over three miles and in two sections was banked nearly 30 feet high. There has been a museum on the site since 1991.

Read the full story on
• Find out more about Brooklands Museum at

Olympic pentathlon venue threatened with redevelopment

Olympic pentathlon venue threatened with redevelopment

February 6 2015

Swimmers and Civic Society members in Aldershot are opposing council proposals to infill the town's lido and convert the site into a children's 'splash pad'. Opened in 1930 with an unusual boot-shaped pool, Aldershot Lido, as featured in The British Olympics was the venue for the swimming events in 1948 Olympic modern pentathlon competition, owing to its proximity to other gymnastic and equestrian facilities run by the Army.

Read the full story on

Campaign launched to keep historic Brighton velodrome on track

Campaign launched to keep historic Brighton velodrome on track

January 29 2015

Historians differ as to whether the four-sided cycle track at Preston Park, Brighton, is Britain's oldest functioning velodrome. Some claim racing began there in 1887, four years before Herne Hill. (The world's oldest velodrome is Erfurt, Germany, opened 1885). Nevertheless, the future of racing at Preston Park is now in doubt, prompting local riders to start lobbying for much need repairs.

Watch the BBC News report.
• Visit the campaign's Facebook page.
Sign the e-petition.

Athlos track and field resource goes on online

Athlos track and field resource goes on online

January 26 2015

The brainchild of historians Tom McNab and Peter Radford, a new website has been launched in conjunction with the British Library and various athletic bodies allowing readers access to a host of 19th century historical sources, some of which are not even lodged in the British Library. Want to know how a Victorian runner got into shape? Or who holds the record for walking 531 miles? Athlos has all the answers in a resource that will no doubt offer a model to other sports and which looks set to grow as more treasures are discovered.

Visit the Athlos archive.

Historic Pools Network heads to Glasgow

Historic Pools Network heads to Glasgow

January 23 2015

The sumptuous Western Baths in Glasgow will be the venue for the next meeting of the Historic Pools Network, on March 20. In addition to touring behind the scenes of this historic private club, featured in both Great Lengths and Played in Glasgow, the group will also visit Govanhhill Baths in Glasgow.

View details of the meeting.

Selected titles from Played in Britain

Liquid Assets

Great Lengths

The historic indoor swimming pools of Britain

By Dr Ian Gordon and Simon Inglis

Book information | Buy now

Uppies and Downies

Uppies and Downies

The extraordinary football games of Britain

By Hugh Hornby

Book information | Buy now

A Load of Old Balls

A Load of Old Balls

Special Offer Price: £3.99

By 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