News from Played in Britain

Played in London publication date announced

May 16 2014


Played in Britain and English Heritage are delighted to announce that the publication date for the next book in the acclaimed Played in Britain series has now been confirmed. Played in London – charting the heritage of a city at play, written by series editor Simon Inglis will go on sale on September 1.

Played in London is the sixth urban study in the Played in Britain series, following on from earlier books on Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow and Tyne & Wear.

It is also the largest and most comprehensive book of the series so far, the result of five years of research, during which nearly one thousand site visits have been undertaken in all 32 London boroughs plus the City of London.

Played in London

Weighing in at 360 pages, Played in London features over 930 archive and contemporary images, plus 17 specially commissioned maps.

The book, which will retail at £25, encompasses chapters on seventeen different sports played in the capital, with detailed studies of six areas where sporting activity is especially concentrated, such as Wembley Park, Dulwich and the River Thames. All the high profile venues are included, the likes of Twickenham, Lord's, The Oval, Wimbledon, the Emirates Stadium and the Olympic Park, but as always in the Played in Britain series, the lesser known sports, such as real tennis, fives and greyhound racing are not forgotten. The book will also feature popular London sports that are now part of the city's history, such as Pall Mall from the 17th century and speedway from the 20th.

There are chapters on specific building types, such as grandstands, pavilions, swimming pools and even billiard halls and skateparks, together with the first ever study of company sports grounds in the London area.

Commenting on the announcement, Played in London author Simon Inglis says, 'We realise that since the 2012 Olympics many of our regular readers have been waiting for this book to emerge and we thank them for their patience. The task has been immense, involving 990 site visits. We calculate that there are around 3,250 sports clubs in London spread amongst 107 differents sports, and obviously we wanted to look them at all to assess their heritage assets and to speak to as many enthusiasts and historians as possible.

'But we feel sure the wait will have been worth it. There really is no other city on earth that can claim to have a sporting heritage as deep, as rich and as varied as London. Last year the Football Association celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation in Holborn. We have identified 46 clubs that may claim to be as old in the worlds of football, cricket, golf, archery, rowing and swimming, together with buildings and facilities that go right back to the 17th and 18th centuries. To be honest, it's been a real effort to squeeze it all in, and we've had to make some tough decisions on what to include and what to leave out.'

'As a result of the research five sports-related buildings have so far been listed, with three more still be to be decided. Hopefully we will be making a further announcement around the time of publication in September, so please watch this space.'

'We are also in process of working out a series of events around London, explaining more about our work and about the writing of the book, starting with a pre-publication seminar at the University of London on Monday, June 30. This will start at 5.15pm in the Holden Room at Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU. All are welcome, entry is free.'

In the meantime, look out for further news about Played in London on the Played in Britain website and via Simon Inglis's Twitter feed: @The_SimonInglis.

• Simon Inglis and the Played in Britain team wish to thank both English Heritage and Populous architects for their generous support for Played in London.


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