News from Played in Britain

Heritage Open Days - from a sporting perspective

September 2 2010

English Heritage's annual Heritage Open Days event takes place from September 9th-12th and includes several sports-related venues that may interest Played in Britain readers. Here's a round up of some places you might like to visit.

Please note that some venues require advance booking and are open for only part of the four day HODS event.

East Anglia

Broomhill Pool, Sherrington Road, Ipswich

Sadly still lying derelict since it closed in 2002, this is a wonderful 1938 modernist lido with a 50m pool. As featured in Liquid Assets. Saturday 11th/Sunday 12th 10:00-17:00

Royal Harwich Yacht Club, Marina Road, Woolverstone, Ipswich

Afloat since 1843 the club has had a fascinating history and several intrepid members. Saturday 11th /Sunday 12th 10:00-16:00

The Old Skating Rink, Bethel Street, Norwich

Now used as a retail outlet for oriental carpets and objects, this beautifully restored Victorian roller skating rink was built in the 1870s, during the first wave of 'rincomania' and has served many purposes since. A rare surviving example. Thursday 9th-Saturday 11th 09:30-17:00

South and South East

Bisley Camp, National Shooting Centre, Bisley Wood, Brockwood, Guildford

National Rifle Association open day Saturday 11th 09:30-16:00

Bletchley Library, Westfield Road, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire: The Football History of Manor Fields

A display celebrating football at Manor Fields to mark the current renovation work at the site. A Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative and part of the wider History of Football in Milton Keynes project. Thursday 9th 09:00-17:30; Friday 10th 09:00-20:00; Saturday 11th 09:00-13:00

Castle Green Bowling Club, Castle Grounds, Guildford, Surrey

A Played in Britain favourite (to be featured in Hugh Hornby's forthcoming book on bowling greens, Bowled Over) this lovely historic green is open to the public, but for Heritage Open Days club members will be inviting people to watch, learn and join in. The adjacent museum is also recommended. Saturday 11th 14:30-17:30

Action on Jesmond Dene Real Tennis Court, Newcastle

The Castle Bowling Green in Guildford, which dates from around 1739, and is still in use today.

Dorking Cricket Club, Cotmandene, Pixham Lane, Dorking

'Owzat!' - A celebration of 240 years of cricket in Dorking (Dorking Cricket Club itself was established in 1771), the centrepiece of which will be a recreation of an 18th century cricket match. Sunday 12th 14:30-17:00

Hilsea Lido, London Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth

A great chance to see this 1935 lido and learn more about local efforts to re-open it for swimming. As featured in Liquid Assets. Saturday 11th /Sunday 12th 13:00-16:00

New Malden Library, New Malden, Kingston-upon-Thames

Exhibition on the history of Kingstonian FC. Thursday 9th 09:30-19:00; Friday 10th 09:30-18:00/Saturday 11th 09:30-17:30

National Badminton Centre, Bradwell Road, Loughton, Milton Keynes

Learn more about the history of badminton from the museum set up within the National Badminton Centre, normally open only to players and coaches. A good chance also to see the facilities where the likes of Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson trained. Saturday 11th 10:30-15:30

Oxford United FC, Kassam Stadium, Grenoble Road, Oxford

Behind the scenes tours of this friendly club's new stadium (opened 2001), recently promoted back into the Football League. Stadium Tours Saturday 12:00; 14:00 16:00

Real Tennis Court, Merton College, Merton Street, Oxford

Real Tennis has been played on this site since at least 1675, though the present Grade II listed court dates from 1798 (only Falkland Palace and Hampton Court have courts that are older). Saturday 11th 11:00-15:00

Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Belvedere Road, Burnham on Crouch, Essex

Lovers of 20th Century architecture will much enjoy this Grade II* listed yacht club, a RIBA design award winner in 1931. Tours: Saturday 11th-Sunday 12th 10:00; 12:00; 15:00

St. John's College Cricket Pavilion, Woodstock Road, Oxford

Tours: Saturday 11th 10:00/12:00/14:00

North East

Jesmond Dene Real Tennis Club, Matthew Bank, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne

This Grade II listed Real Tennis Court was built in what was then the garden of Jesmond Dene House in 1894. One of only around twenty five Real Tennis Courts in the UK and still in daily use. Find out more in the latest in the Played in Britain series, Played in Tyne and Wear. Thursday 9th-Sunday 12th 10:00-16:00

Action on Jesmond Dene Real Tennis Court, Newcastle

Action on Jesmond Dene Real Tennis Court, Newcastle, one of the historic sports-related buildings open to visitors throughout the weekend.

The Palace Green Pavilion, Palace Green, Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland

An interesting Grade II listed former gentlemen's reading room, built in 1830 by a bowling green, with a later, purpose built billiard hall, lately used a scout hut. Saturday 11th/Sunday 12th 11:00-16:00

Played in Tyne and Wear book launch event, Newcastle Cricket Club, Osborne Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne

Join Played in Britain series editor Simon Inglis, and author Lynn Pearson for the launch of the latest book in the Played in Britain series, which charts the sporting heritage of the north east. Thursday 9th 16:30-18:30

Places are limited so pre-booking is essential. Please contact Ruth Mansfield on 0191 2691202 or to reserve your free tickets.

North West

Birkenhead Park, Park Drive, Birkenhead, Merseyside

Guided tour of Britain's first municipal public park, designed by Joseph Paxton and opened in 1847, featuring one of the country's oldest cricket pavilions, opened c. 1849 by Birkenhead Park CC, and Upper Park, home of Birkenhead Park Rugby Club since 1886, as featured in Played in Liverpool. Tours: Grand Entrance, South Lodge, Conway Street Saturday 11th/Sunday 12th 13:00

Chester Racecourse, Chester

A guided walking tour of the famous Roodee, Britain's oldest course, where racing and many other sports have been staged since 1539. Only one tour though and places are limited. Thursday 9th 14:00-15:00

Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester

No need to remind our regulars of this, arguably the finest Edwardian swimming baths in Britain, Grade II* and featured extensively in both Great Lengths and Played in Manchester. Phase One of the restoration works were completed in 2008 and now refurbishment of the Gala Pool is complete. Guided tours of the building available throughout the day. Saturday 11th/Sunday 12th 12:00-16:00

South West

Belmont Bowling Club, Blackboy Road, Exeter

The Belmont is one of Exeter's oldest bowling greens and the game has been played in the city since the 1600s. Visitors will be able to see some of the club's memorabilia and can also try their hand at the game. Thursday 9th 11:00-13:00

Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool, Thomas Street, Cirencester

Opened in 1870, this historic pool uses natural spring water. Committee members will be on hand to show visitors around and tell them about the pool's history. Saturday 11th 10:00-18:00

Cleveland Pools, Cleveland Row, Hampton Row, Bath

Another Played in Britain favourite, this delightful Grade II* open air swimming pool was opened in 1815 and is Britain's oldest lido, as featured in Liquid Assets. Since it closed to the public in 1984 chances to visit are few and far between, so this year's open days offer a great opportunity to learn more about current plans to refurbish the site, which in 2007 was placed on English Heritage's Heritage at Risk Register. Friday 10th-Sunday 12th 14:00-17:00

Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club, Sandy Park Stadium, Sandy Park Way, Exeter

A one-hour tour of the facilities of this club, recently promoted to the Premiership. Tour: Thursday 9th 16:00

Exeter City FC, St. James' Park, Exeter

A behind the scenes tour of a club now in their second century at St. James Park. Tour: Friday 10th 10:00

Gloucester Rugby Club, Kingsholm Road, Kingsholm, Gloucester

Formed in 1873, Gloucester has played at Kingsholm since 1891, and although there are no buildings of architectural interest, the Shed terrace is well known in rugby circles. Tour: Thursday 9th 10:30

Sandford Parks Lido, Keynsham Road, Cheltenham

Opened in 1935 Sandford Parks Lido retains nearly all of its historic features and is one of the most complete examples of its kind in England. Saturday 11th 11:00-17:00

Trowbridge Cricket Club and County Ground Pavilion, Lower Coast, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Grand Edwardian pavilion stuffed with memorabilia. Saturday 11th 14:00-16:00

West Midlands

Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Club, Westbourne Road, Birmingham

The world's oldest lawn tennis club still playing at its original location, EALTS grass courts date from 1872. Come and learn about the early history of lawn tennis in the city where it was first played. Includes display of historical tennis artefacts. Sunday 12th 14:00-17:00

Leamington Spa Tennis Court Club, Bedford Street, Leamington Spa

Hidden in a back street with a modest exterior and not to be confused with the town's venerable lawn tennis club, this is one of the oldest Real Tennis courts in Britain, first used in 1847 and featuring original club rooms. Tours: Thursday 9th 11:00/Friday 12th 11:00

Moor Pool Festival, Moor Pool Estate, The Circle, Harborne, Birmingham

This charming example of early 20th century social housing includes two tennis clubs, a picturesque bowling green, a snooker room and the unique 'hidden' dual skittle alley, 99 years old and still going strong. As featured in Played in Birmingham. Sunday 12th 11:00-17:00

Molineux Stadium Tours, Molineux, Wolverhampton

Though comprehensively redeveloped in recent years, Molineux has been the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers for over 120 years. Learn about the great Wolves sides of the 1950s that pioneered European football under captain and England legend Billy Wright. Tours: Thursday 9th/Friday 10th 18:00; Saturday 11th/Sunday 12th 15:00

Molineux Hotel, Whitmore Hill, Wolverhampton

This was the original focal point of the Molineux sports and leisure grounds, destined to become home of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club in 1889, and once with its own boating lake, skating rink and bowling green. After years of dereliction in the shadow of the football stadium the Grade II* listed hotel, parts of which date back to 1750, has now been restored and turned into the home of the city's Archives & Local Studies Service. An exhibition of local sporting history is taking place during Heritage Open Weekend. Thursday 9th - Saturday 11th 10:00-16:00


KC Stadium, Walton Street, Hull

Take a guided tour of Hull's KC stadium, shared by Hull City FC and Hull FC Rugby League Club. Later, members of Hull City FC will be on hand (along with current and former players) to unearth memories of the club's history as part of an ongoing archive project. Tours: Thursday 9th 11:00/16:00; also: Share Your Memories of Hull City FC, Thursday 9th at the KC Stadium 17:00-22:00

The Rugby Football League, Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds

Red Hall is a mainly late 18th century Grade II listed house, parts of which date back to 1650. It is now the headquarters of the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football League's Hall of Fame. Saturday 11th 10:00-13:00

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