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

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
• For the German Gymnasium website, visit

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

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.

Endangered Birmingham baths placed on World Monuments Watch list

Endangered Birmingham baths placed on World Monuments Watch list

October 16 2015

Opened in 1907 and listed Grade II*, Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham, as featured in Great Lengths and Played in Birmingham is one of two buildings in the UK to have been placed on a list of 50 endangered heritage assets by the World Monuments Fund, a conservation charity based in New York. Covering 36 countries, the 2016 list includes an ancient underwater city off the coast of Greece, a cemetery in Chile and an historic hill town in Iraq.

• For details for the list, visit
• For more on the story, visit
Download the press release from the Friends of Moseley Baths (PDF)

Nottinghamshire stages sports heritage week

Nottinghamshire stages sports heritage week

September 23 2015

Running from September 26 to October 4, Nottinghamshire County Council is organising a series of events to celebrate the area's rich sporting heritage, including visits to Trent Bridge (with a chance to have your cricket memorabilia valued), Nottingham Races and Mansfield Rugby Club, plus talks on Nottingham Forest and Hucknall Heroes.

• For full details, visit

Public invited to see proposals for Haggerston Baths

Public invited to see proposals for Haggerston Baths

September 18 2015

The future of another historic swimming pool in London is up for grabs. Built in 1904, the Grade II listed Haggerston Baths has been empty since 2000. Now, Hackney Council has received various proposals for its future, all of which will be revealed at a public meeting on October 8.

• For full details, download the PDF.

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

Played in Tyne and Wear

Played in London

Charting the heritage of a city at play

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

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