News from Played in Britain

Open House London - Played in Britain recommends

September 2 2010

This year's Open House London takes place during the weekend of September 18-19 with a choice of well over 700 buildings and events to visit throughout the capital. Played in Britain has selected those venues we think will particularly appeal to those interested in sporting heritage, including the newly restored Grade II listed Marshall Street Baths in Soho.

Some venues must be booked in advance. For full details on all venues see:

Bromley: Chislehurst Golf Club, Camden Place, Camden Park Road, Chislehurst

Now an exclusive golf club, but the home of Napoleon III from 1870-1880. A good example of an important house sustained by its sporting use.

Tours: Saturday/Sunday 10:00/11:00

Enfield: Lee Valley Athletics Centre, Picketts Lock

A thoroughly modern, naturally lit indoor athletics building where, hopefully, the seeds of track and field history are being sown. This is another high quality sports building by David Morley Architects, whose other works at Brunel University and Regents Park are featured below.

Saturday/Sunday 10:00-17:00

Greenwich: Eltham Lodge, Royal Blackheath Golf Club, Court Road

Yet another superb, Grade I listed house (originating in 1664) sustained by a golf club, in this case the Royal Blackheath, which claims to be the oldest golf club in the world, having formed in at least 1745 and possibly as early as 1603. The club moved to Eltham Lodge when it merged with Eltham Golf Club in 1923. Hopefully the club museum will also be open to visitors for the weekend.

Tours: Sunday 10:00/11:00/12:00

Greenwich: Greenwich Yacht Club, Peartree Way

A striking contemporary timber and aluminium yacht club, designed by architects Frankl + Luty and opened in 2000. Worth visiting also for its stunning views of the river, the O2 Dome and Thames Barrier.

Regular Tours: Saturday/Sunday 13:00-16:00

Hammersmith & Fulham: Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens

Famous as a venue for polo, this is an 18th century mansion, which, since 1869, has been home to arguably London's most exclusive sports club. Beautiful house and 42 acres of grounds on the banks of the Thames, with bowling greens, croquet lawns, tennis courts and its own cricket ground. How the other half play! And yet it's only a short walk from Putney Bridge tube station.

Saturday 11:00-16:00 (Tours: 11:00/15:00)

The magnificent 18th century mansion which serves as the clubhouse for the Hurlingham Club.

The magnificent 18th century mansion which serves as the clubhouse for the Hurlingham Club.

Hillingdon: Indoor Athletics Centre, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge

Another excellent modern sports building by David Morley Architects with a particularly elegant roof structure.

Saturday/Sunday 11:00-16:00

Lambeth: Brockwell Lido, Brockwell Park

Familiar to readers of Liquid Assets this classic Grade II listed London County Council lido, opened in 1937, is well worth visiting to see the recent refurbishment and extension by Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects.

Saturday 10:00-17:00 (last tour; 16:00)

Lambeth: Temple Bowling Club, Sunset Road, Herne Hill

Classic 1932 sports pavilion. Full indoor-sized bowling greens on the first floor, grand terrace with Italianate styling overlooking the outdoor greens, all tucked away behind suburban housing of the same period.

Saturday/Sunday 13:00-17:00

Newham: London Regatta Centre, Dockside Road

Helping to set the new trend for challenging riverside and watersport architecture, this angular boathouse, by Ian Ritchie Architects, opened in 1999 and serves as a base for events organised by the Royal Albert Dock Trust. It overlooks the finishing line of a newly extended, Olympic standard 2,000 metre rowing course.


Newham: Olympic Park Viewing Gallery, Holden Point, Waddington Road

Get a bird's eye view of progress at the Olympic Park site with less than two years to go before the Games begin.

Saturday/Sunday 10:30-15:30

Southwark: The Pioneer Health Centre, St. Mary's Road, Peckham

Described by Walter Gropius as 'an oasis of glass in a desert of brick' this Grade II* listed Modernist building by Sir E Owen Williams is of interest to sports historians owing to its central swimming pool and the experimental ethos of its founders, as featured in Great Lengths. Because the centre is now occupied by private flats, Open House is a great opportunity to peek inside and relive the optimism of its 1930s social and medical pioneers. Highly recommended.

Sunday 10:00-14:00 (Tours: 10:00/11:00/12;00/13:00)

Wandsworth: National Tennis Centre, Priory Lane, Roehampton

We might not produce many decent tennis players but no one can blame the facilities. Open House offers a great chance to look around the National Tennis Centre, designed by Hopkins Architects and opened in 2007.

Saturday 10:30-15:30; architect led tours at 10:30/13:00

Wandsworth: Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting Bec Road

Opened in 1906 and rebuilt in 1936, this colourful parkland lido is breathtakingly massive, said to be the largest outdoor pool in Europe. While you are there look out for Tooting Bec regular Janet Smith, author of Liquid Assets.

Saturday/Sunday 10:00-15:00

Westminster: The Hub - Regent's Park Sports Pavilion

Another innovative sports building by David Morley architects, the Hub, opened in 2005, is a welcome departure from the usual pavilion design, being a circular glass and steel building, partially submerged and covered by sloping turf, yet still offering all round views of the park.

Saturday/Sunday 09:00-18:00

Westminster: Marshall Street Sports Centre

The newly restored Grade II listed Marshall Street Baths were constructed in Roman Renaissance style and feature elaborate brick stonework, marble-lined halls and a stunning barrel vaulted roof. The centre has recently reopened following redevelopment that included restoration of the marble-lined swimming pool, a fine example of 1930s architecture.

Saturday/Sunday 10:00-16:0

The newly refurbished Marshall Street Baths

The newly refurbished Marshall Street Baths, 'one of the most beautiful indoor pools in this country' according to the late Roger Deakin.

Westminster: Little Venice Sports Centre, Crompton Street

This new leisure centre uses state of the art technologies and eco-friendly materials providing facilities for both team and individual pursuits. Sustainable features include wind catchers, solar panels, sun pipes and a sedum roof.

Saturday/Sunday 10:00-17:30

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