News from Played in Britain

Open House London - Played in Britain recommends

August 29 2011


This year's Open House London takes place during the weekend of September 17-18 with a huge choice of buildings and events on offer throughout the capital. Played in Britain has selected venues we think will particularly appeal to those interested in sporting heritage.

As an addition to Open House London, there will be bus tours of the London 2012 Olympic Park on September 10-11. Pre-book only on 0300 2012 550.

Some visits must be booked in advance. For full details on all venues and to pre-book see: www.londonopenhouse.org


Barking & Dagenham: Becontree Heath Leisure Centre, Althorne Way, Dagenham

Brand new state of the art leisure centre designed by S&P Architects, co-designers with Zaha Hadid Architects of the London 2012 Aquatics Centre. Pre-book only.

Tours: Saturday/Sunday 10-12.00


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. Pre-book only.

Tours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00/11.00


Camden: German Gymnasium, 26 Pancras Road

Opened in 1865 as the home of the German Gymnastics Society and used during Britain's first National Olympian Games in 1866. Regular talks by Allies & Morrison, one of the King's Cross Central masterplan architects.

Saturday/Sunday 11:00 - 16:00 (talks Saturday 12:00 - 16:00)

Workers take a break in front of the German Gymnasium at King's Cross

Workers take a break in front of the German Gymnasium at King's Cross (© English Heritage)


City of London: St Bride Foundation Institute, Bride Lane, Fleet Street

Built as a printers' institute complete with a swimming pool now converted into a theatre but with many of the pool features still visible. Half hourly tours, pre-book only.

Saturday 10:00 - 13:00/ Sunday 13:00-17:00


Enfield: Lee Valley Athletics Centre, 61 Meridian Way, Picketts Lock

A world-class indoor training facility, the only one of its kind in the south east, designed to be highly sustainable by David Morley Architects.

Saturday/Sunday 10:00 - 17:00 (last entry 16.30)


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

Grade I listed house (originating in 1664) and home of 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.

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.

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.

Tours: Saturday 11:00/15:00


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

A world class indoor athletics facility designed by David Morley Architects with a particularly elegant roof structure.

Saturday/Sunday 11:00-16:00 (architect led tour Saturday 14:00)


Lambeth: Brockwell Lido, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road

Familiar to readers of Liquid Assets this classic Grade II listed LCC 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 with full size indoor bowling greens on first floor and grand terrace with Italianate styling overlooking the outdoor greens, all tucked away behind suburban housing of the same period.

Saturday 10:00 - 17:00 (last tour 16.30)

Temple Bowling Club's magnificent 1930s pavilion

Temple Bowling Club's magnificent 1930s pavilion (© Steve Cadman)


Merton: Mitcham Cricket Club Pavilion, 4 Cricket Green, Mitcham

A locally listed building which has been the club's pavilion for over 100 years whilst cricket has been played on Mitcham Cricket Green for over 300 years.

Saturday 10:00-17:00


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 Sports Canopy, 100 Priory Lane, Roehampton

The world's first composite demountable air-beam canopy in the sports sector, spanning 42 metres, designed by George Stowell. An inspirational and clutter-free playing environment which also meets strict local planning policy on Metropolitan Open Land.

Saturday 10:00 - 17:00 (architect-led regular tours)


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, Outer Circle

Another innovative sports building by David Morley Architects, The Hub 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 - 17:00


Westminster: Little Venice Sports Centre, 10 Crompton Street

New leisure centre featuring state of the art technologies and eco-friendly materials. Designed by LCE Architects.

Saturday / Sunday 10:00 - 17:30


Westminster: Marshall Street Leisure Centre, Marshall Street

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 - 16:00


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