Played in Britain
Charting the heritage of a nation at play
PLEASE NOTE: Apologies for the delay with Played in London. Publication now scheduled for Spring 2014.
We publish books about Britain's sporting heritage. If you like an old scoreboard, or a mildewed pavilion; if you would like to know where to find the world's oldest bowling green, or the best Art Deco grandstand in London; if you're fed up with homogenised, commercialised sport, and long to dive into a Victorian swimming pool with gorgeous ceramic tiling; if you think potting balls all afternoon in a dimly-lit billiard hall is definitely not time mis-spent; if you have ever wondered why tennis and suburbia go together so well, then Played in Britain is for you...
I love this kind of history... The great value of the books is that they help us to remember, to see more clearly, and hopefully to preserve the many ways in which Britain is a country shaped by sport.
Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph
Played in Britain news feed: reporting on Britain's sporting heritage
Fears for lidos in the southwest
March 2 2104
Lovers of outdoor swimming fear that the opening of Tinside Lido in Plymouth may have to be delayed this summer after the Grade II listed pool was damaged in recent storms. This follows the severe battering of the Jubilee Pool in Penzance last month, also Grade II, which suffered extensive damage. No doubt the subject will come up at the next meeting of the Historic Pools Network on March 11 at Aston University.
For more on the Historic Pools Network see our news article from 2013.
German Gymnasium to become restaurant
January 16 2014
Plans have been announced to turn one of Britain's oldest surviving gymnasiums into a restaurant and bar complex. The Grade II* German Gymnasium, which opened in 1865 and was restored as part of the King's Cross Central development in 2005, was funded by London's German community and hosted the indoor events of the first National Olympian Games in 1866. Read more about the building in The British Olympics by Martin Polley.
For more on the story see standard.co.uk.
Home of British boxing listed
December 2 2013
York Hall, a 1920s baths and laundry complex in Bethnal Green, has been listed Grade II in recognition of the importance of its well preserved interiors and historic association with boxing. The main, first class swimming pool has been boarded over since the late 1940s and is one of the most well loved venues for boxing in the country whilst swimming continues in a pool dating from the 1960s.
For listing details see english-heritage.org.uk.
For more on York Hall, see our book Great Lengths.
Military rackets court listed
November 21 2013
A rackets court at Burgoyne Barracks, Shorncliffe Camp near Folkestone in Kent has been Grade II listed and could form part of the redevelopment of the former army base. The court was built by the Royal Engineers in the late 1860s as the result of a drive to promote fitness in the army. Whilst the building is not the earliest to be built for this purpose, it appears to be one of the best preserved examples of its type in England.
For the listing details, see english-heritage.org.uk
Oldest cantilevered grandstand in Britain listed – but there are two sides to the story
October 21 2013
The oldest reinforced concrete cantilevered grandstand in Britain, opened in Finchley, London, in 1930, has become the latest in a series of buildings to be listed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, following research carried out as part of the Played in London project. In addition to its use of advanced concrete engineering, the stand is also one of the very few double sided stands in existence, serving two different clubs.
For the listing details, visit english-heritage.org.uk
Historic Pools Network launch
October 16 2013
Pool operators and campaigners from around the country met at the Victoria Baths in Manchester last month to launch the Historic Pools Network. The idea behind the network is to raise awareness of the crisis facing many old swimming pools which have been closed or are facing closure and to share information on restoration and fund-raising.
The launch of the network was timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Victoria Baths winning the BBC’s Restoration programme. To mark the occasion, the gala pool was temporarily filled, tempting some of the hardy campaigners to brave the chilly water.