News from Played in Britain

Heritage Open Days 2012
- from a sporting perspective

September 3 2012

The annual Heritage Open Days event, funded by English Heritage, takes place from September 6-9 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, IP1 4HT

Sadly still lying derelict since it closed in 2002, this is a wonderful 1938 Modernist lido with a 50m pool. The Broomhill Pool Trust together with Fusion and Ipswich Council are seeking funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for full restoration of the pool. Open for viewing only. As featured in Liquid Assets.

Saturday and Sunday 10:00-16:00

Felixstowe's Golfing Heritage, Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, Felixstowe, IP11 9RY

A display of photographs illustrating the town's golfing heritage followed by a talk by local golfer Mike Thomas.

Sunday 11:00-16:00, talk at 16:00

The Old Skating Rink, Country & Eastern Ltd, Bethel Street, Norwich, NR2 1NR

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 - Saturday 09:30-17:00

Ouse Amateur Sailing Club, Ferry Lane, King's Lynn, PE30 1HN

A private sailing club dating back to 1881, once the Ferry Boat Inn where Cambridge boat teams finished their training, rowing from Cambridge.

Sunday 10:00-16:00

Sport at Sidney, The Library, Sidney Sussex College, Sidney Street, Cambridge, CB2 3HU

A display of items relating to the wide range of sports at Sidney Sussex College from the 17th to the 20th century. Highlights include rowing memorabilia associated with HT Ferrar, the geologist on Scott's first Antartic expedition, Vicorian and Edwardian sporting photography and advice on how to play tennis.

Friday and Saturday 10:00-16:00

North East

Albert Park Skating Rink, Linthorpe Road, Middlesborough, TS1 3LB

Free skating at this recently refurbished skating rink located in a beautifully restored Victorian Park. Meeting point for free skating is the Albert Park Visitor Centre.

Sunday 10:00-13:00

Blaydon Races Exhibition, Blaydon Library, Wesley Court, Blaydon, NE21 5BT

A photographic exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Blaydon Races

Thursday 09:00-19:00
Friday 09:00-17:00
Saturday 09:00-13:00

Howay the Heed Exhibition, St Mary's Heritage Centre, St Mary's Church, Oakwellgate, Gateshead, NE8 2AU

Mostly overshadowed by larger clubs in the region, 'The Heed' has had its moments of triumph as well as hardship. This exhibition celebrates its sporting heroes.

Saturday 10:30-15:30

Jesmond Dene Real Tennis Club, Matthew Bank, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 3RE

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 25 Real Tennis Courts in the UK and still in daily use. Find out more in Played in Tyne and Wear by Lynn Pearson.

Thursday - Sunday 12:00-16:00

Morpeth Bowls Club, Carlisle Park, Riverside, Morpeth, NE61 1LW

Visitors are welcome to come along to a bowling competition on Saturday and to enjoy an exhibition in the pavilion on the history of bowling in Morpeth on Sunday.

Saturday 10:30-16:00, Sunday 10:00-16:00

Newcastle Cricket Club, Osborne Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1JS

Discover the remarkable history of the 125 year old Jesmond Ground, a very special place in the local community.

Thursday 10:00-20:00, Friday-Sunday 10:00-18:00

A fine afternoon's play at Newcastle Cricket Club in Jesmond

A fine afternoon's play at Newcastle Cricket Club in Jesmond (© Lynn Pearson)

Sporting Morpeth Exhibition, Town Hall, Market Place, Morpeth, NE61 1LZ

An exhibition celebrating Morpeth's sporting heroes, including displays on the Morpeth Olympic Games 1870-1958.

Thursday and Friday 10:00-16:30

Stepney Bank Stables, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PN

The oldest working stable-yard in Newcastle, Stepney Bank Stables will be offering 'open doors' throughout the weekend, and special tours of the yard with the opportunity to meet the horses. Pre-book: 0191 261 5544

Thursday and Friday 09:30-20:00, tour 18:00
Saturday and Sunday 09:30-16:30, tour 14:00

North West

The Albert Bowling and Tennis Club, 39-41 Old Lansdowne Road, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2PA

The Albert Club was established in 1874 as a gentlemen's club when a group of businessmen put money in to build the clubhouse and lay an impressive crown bowling green. Over the weekend there will be displays on the history and origins of the club and the Albert Park Conservation Area.

Saturday and Sunday 10:00-17:00

Baseball in Oldham, Oldham Local Studies and Archives, 84 Union Street, Oldham, OL1 1DN

An exhibition on the history of baseball, cricket and greyhound racing at Watersheddings, Oldham.

Thursday 10:00-19:00, Friday 10:00-17:00, Saturday 10:00-16:00

Birkenhead Park, Park Drive, Birkenhead, CH41 4HY

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. Meet at Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre.

Tours: Thursday - Sunday 13:30

Chester Racecourse, Chester, CH1 1LY

A guided walking tour of the famous Roodee, Britain's oldest racecourse, where racing and many other sports have been staged since 1539. Walking tour/talk by Chris Clayton explaining the history of the site since Roman times, right up to recent projects, including the Linenhall stables site, new Parade ring projects, grandstand extensions and 1539 restaurant. The tour also includes the Old Port site, its new stables and railway arches with associated developments and riverside path. Pre-book only: Sue Foster 01244 405635

Thursday 14:00-15:00

Rochdale Leisure Centre, Entwisle Road, Rochdale, OL16 2HZ

A behind the scenes tour of this newly built £11 million leisure centre which has replaced the 1937 Entwisle Road swimming baths. Pre-book: 01706 926000

Thursday 14:00

Saints Heritage Exhibition, Langtree Park Stadium, St Helens, WA9 3AL

Langtree Park, the new home of St Helens Rugby League Club, opens its doors to visitors with a special feature around its 1932 winning team presented by members of the Saints Heritage Organisation. Pre-book at

Sunday 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00, presentations at 10:30 and 14:30

Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, M13 0FE

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.

Friday - Sunday 11:00-17:00

South and South East

Castle Green Bowling Club, Castle Grounds, Guildford, GU1 3SX

A Played in Britain favourite (to be featured in Hugh Hornby's forthcoming book on bowling greens, Bowled Over) this historic green in the castle grounds is open to the public, but for Heritage Open Days will be inviting people to watch, learn and join in. The adjacent museum is also recommended.

Sunday 14:30-17:30

Chandos Hall, Chandos Court, Silver Street, Newport Pagnell, MK16 0EW

An exhibition on the theme of sport to coincide with the Olympics.

Sunday 14:00-16:00

Cyclox Bike Ride, Oxford Preservation Trust, 10 Turn Again Lane, Oxford OX1 1QL

A gentle 10-mile historic river and canal bike ride taking in some of the sights of key historic and sporting interest. Finish with a drink at the pub. Led by Cyclox members Lucy Tennyson and Simon Hunt.

Sunday 10:00

Dorking Cricket Club, Cotmandene, Dorking, DH4 2BL

Dorking Cricket Club invite a team from the surrounding area to participate in a vintage 'two-stump' game played under version of the 1770 rules. Plenty of space to picnic and enjoy the spectacle.

Sunday 14:30-17:00

Hilsea Lido, London Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, PO2 9RP

A great chance to see this 1935 Modernist lido and learn more about local efforts to re-open it for swimming. As featured in Liquid Assets.

Saturday/Sunday 13:00-16:00

King's Meadow Swimming Baths, Napier Road, Reading, RG1 8BN

An opportunity to visit these 1902, Grade II Listed, semi-open air baths. Special for their cast and ironwork and Reading-style brickwork. The pool tank is 120ft x 45ft and ranges from 3ft 6" to 7ft 6" in depth. It was last open for public swimming in 1976 and is currently in a critical condition. The King's Meadow campaign is waiting to be granted permission to begin a community restoration.

Friday and Saturday 10:00-16:00

National Badminton Centre, Bradwell Road, Loughton Lodge, Milton Keynes, MK8 9LA

Learn more about the history of badminton from the museum set up within the National Badminton Centre, normally open only to players and coaches. An under 17 Gold tournament will be taking place in the main hall featuring some of Britain's most promising players.

Saturday 10:00-16:00

Our Sporting Life, Buckinghamshire County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2QP

Our Sporting Life, Bucks, is an exciting exhibition celebrating sport in local peoples' lives, past and present and the important part Stoke Mandeville played in the Paralympics.

Thursday - Saturday 10:00-17:00

Oxford Brookes University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wheatley Campus, Oxford, OX33 1HX

An opportunity to visit the main purpose built centre for training and research in motor sport.

Saturday tours 10:30, 12:00

Reading FC, Madejski Stadium, Junction 11, M4, Reading, RG2 0FL

Fully guided tour behind the scenes tour including the players lounge, changing rooms and trophy room before stepping out of the tunnel onto pitch-side. Pre-booking required: phone 0118 968 1012

Sunday tours 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00

Real Tennis Court, Merton College, Merton Street, Oxford, OX1 4JD

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). Demonstrations on the hour.

Saturday 11:00-15:00

Southampton Old Bowling Green, Lower Canal Walk (by Gods House Tower), Southampton, SO14 3AX

Dating from before 1299, the bowling green is claimed to be the oldest in the world. Many artefacts of historical interest will be on display with members on hand to answer questions.

Sunday 10:00-16:00

Stoke Mandeville Story Exhibition, Guttman Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 9PP

Sir Ludwig Guttman at Stoke Mandeville Hospital revolutionised the treatment and life chances for those with spinal injuries. This exhibition celebrates his work in the year of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Read the early history of the Paralympic Games in The British Olympics

Thursday & Friday 14:00-18:00; Saturday 09:00-18:00; Sunday 11:00-18:00

Stoke Mandeville, celebrated as the birthplace of the Paralympics

Stoke Mandeville, celebrated as the birthplace of the Paralympics (© Simon Inglis)

Town Hall Sporting Heritage Exhibition, St Aldate's, Oxford, OX1 1BX

An exhibition in the new galleries as part of Explore Oxford, based on Oxford's Sports Heritage - On Your Marks, Set...Go!

Saturday and Sunday 10:30-16:00

South West

Benjamin Perry Boathouse, Phoenix Wharf, Bristol, BS1 6TJ

Built in 1897 as a warehouse for goods unloaded from sailing ships in the floating harbour. Now an activity centre for the Scouts and Guides. History display.

Saturday 10.00-16.00

Exeter City FC, St James Park, Exeter, EX4 6PX

Tour of St James Park, home of Exeter City FC for the past 100 years. Visit the grounds and changing rooms and go behind the scenes in the sponsors' and executive suites. Pre-book: 01392 411243

Friday 10:00

Gloucester City Museum, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1HP

A rugby heritage trail around the museum to accompany the Scrum Down! Low Down! exhibition in the community gallery.

Thursday-Saturday 10:00-17:00, Sunday 11:00-16:00

Gloucester Rugby Club, Kingsholm Road, Kingsholm, Gloucester, GL1 3AX

Formed in 1873, Gloucester has played at Kingsholm since 1891 and is one of the world’s oldest rugby clubs, and although there are no buildings of architectural interest, the Shed terrace is well known in rugby circles. Pre-booking required; Tel: 01452 396572

Tour: Thursday 10:30

Sandford Parks Lido, Keynsham Road, Cheltenham, GL53 7PU

Opened in 1935 Sandford Parks Lido retains nearly all of its historic features, including plant room machinery, and is one of the most complete examples of its kind in England.

Saturday 11:00-19:30

East Midlands

Babworth Court, Babworth Park, Babworth, Retford, DN22 8EW

Babworth Court is a former squash court/sports hall located in the Grade II listed Babworth Park. Built in the early 20th century, it has been converted into a state of the art yoga and education centre.

Saturday 10:00-16:00

Retford Bowling Green, Hallcroft Road, Retford, DN22 7LB

Founded in 1895, Retford Bowling Club's new clubhouse was opened by the World Pairs Champion Tony Allcock in 1992. Visitors are welcome to look round and have a go at bowls on Saturday.

Saturday 10:00-16:00, bowls drive 13:30

Retford Lawn Tennis Club, Hospital Road, Retford, DN22 7BD

Founded in 1891, Retford Lawn Tennis Club backs onto the Chesterfield Canal and is close to Retford town centre.

Saturday 10:00-15:30

West Midlands

King Edward VI School Sports Pavilion, Manor Road, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 7EA

The sports pavilion at King Edward VI Grammar School, built in 1971, is a Grade II listed building, described by English Heritage as a 'notable work in the public realm'.

Saturday 10:00-11:00

Leamington Real Tennis Club, Bedford Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5DT

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, built in 1846/7 by Jackson of Leamington Spa and featuring original club rooms. Pre-book: 01926 412717

Tours: Thursday and Friday 11:00

Molineux Stadium Tours, Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton, WV1 4QR

Though comprehensively redeveloped in recent years, Molineux has been 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, go behind the scenes, view trophy cabinets and see the almost completed phase one of the stadium redevelopment. Pre-book 01902 429212

Tours: Friday 16:00 and 18:00 Sunday 10:00 and 12:00

Molineux Hotel, Whitmore Hill, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SF

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 been restored and turned into the home of the city’s Archives & Local Studies Service. Pre-book for tours: 01902 429212

Thursday 10:00 -17:00, Friday 12:00-17:00
Saturday 10:00-16:00, tours 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:30, 14:30


The Bath House, Gledhow Valley Road, Leeds

A listed bath house, originally part of the Gledhow Estate. It has a changing room and a small pool fed from a spring. Visit organised by Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods.

Sunday 13:30-16:30

The Rugby Football League, Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds, LS17 8NB

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. Pre-book: 0113 823 9107 before Friday September 7.

Saturday 10:00-13:00

Scarborough Cricket Club, North Marine Road, Scarborough, YO12 7TJ

Displays of cricket memorabilia, artefacts and old photographs illustrating Scarborough's long cricket heritage and a chance to look around the old pavilion. On Saturday, Scarborough 1st XI take on Hull, so take the opportunity to watch some cricket and enjoy a traditional cricket tea.

Friday 10:00-17:00, Saturday 10:00-18:30, cricket match 12:00

Starbeck Baths, Spa Lane, Harrogate, HG2 7JF

This public swimming pool was originally built in 1870. Previously known as the Prince of Wales Baths, it became one of the foremost spa attractions in the Victorian era.

Friday & Sunday 10:30-16:00, Saturday 10:30-12:00

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