Played in Britain

Charting the heritage of a nation at play


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...

Find out more about Played in Britain, our books and our authors

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

Historic Pools campaign group to meet at Lido Bristol

Historic Pools campaign group to meet at Lido Bristol

March 24 2016

Historic Pools of Britain, formed last September by operators and users of pools dating from before the 1970s, are holding their next gathering at the revived Lido Bristol in Clifton, on April 27. The event will include a trip to the disused Cleveland Pools in Bath, Britain's oldest surviving outdoor swimming location, which it is hoped will soon be restored for public use. Both pools are featured in Liquid Assets.

• For details on the event, visit campaign-archive2.com

Victorian swimming baths in Hastings re-opens as skatepark

Victorian swimming baths in Hastings re-opens as skatepark

March 23 2016

After lying derelict since 1997, one of Britain's oldest surviving swimming baths, opened in Hastings in 1878 and featured in Great Lengths has received a £1.7 million makeover to turn it into a BMX and skatepark called Source Park.

• For the Source Park, visit sourcebmx.com
• For the story of how the baths were transformed, visit hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk

Oval gas holder listed

Oval gas holder listed

March 4 2016

Cricket fans around the world will be delighted that the Victorian gas holder by The Oval cricket ground has been listed Grade II thereby securing its future as one of the game’s most iconic structures. Built in 1847 for the Phoenix Gas Works, it was the world’s largest gas holder before being rebuilt in 1879 ahead of the first Test match at The Oval in 1880. For more on the history of The Oval see Played in London.

• For more on the listing, visit historicengland.org.uk

Blue Plaques to footballer Bobby Moore and Laurie Cunningham to be unveiled in London

Blue Plaques to footballer Bobby Moore and Laurie Cunningham to be unveiled in London

February 26 2016

As part of the celebrations to mark the 150th anniverary of the Blue Plaque scheme, English Heritage is to place plaques on the former homes of Bobby Moore – the first Blue Plaque to be sited in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham – and Laurie Cunningham, in Stroud Green, north London. Both players already have plaques in their honour at their former home grounds, Upton Park and Brisbane Road respectively.

• For more details, visit english-heritage.org.uk

Site of 1848 Cambridge football rules to be commemorated by artwork and website

Site of 1848 Cambridge football rules to be commemorated by artwork and website

February 15 2016

Parker's Piece, the playing field in Cambridge where possibly the earliest written set of football rules in Britain were nailed to a tree in 1848, fifteen years before the formation of the Football Association, is to be commemorated by artists Alan Ward and Neville Gabie. Allied to this initiative is a website inviting football lovers to tell their favourite tales of the game.

• For more details, visit cambridgerules1848.com

Borders exhibition celebrates Shrove Tuesday Anglo-French entente

Borders exhibition celebrates Shrove Tuesday Anglo-French entente

February 1 2016

Jedburgh is the location of a unique exhibition celebrating the Shrove Tuesday tradition of Ba' games both in the Borders and in France. Put together by Played in Britain contributor Hugh Hornby, author of Uppies and Downies and photographers Peter Holme and Oliver Got, the exhibition runs from Feb 10-13 to coincide with the week's Ba' games in the area.

• For more details, download the PDF


Selected titles from Played in Britain

Played in Glasgow

Played in Glasgow

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Ged O'Brien

Book information | Buy now

Played in Birmingham

Played in Birmingham

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Steve Beauchampé & Simon Inglis

Book information | Buy now

Played at the Pub

Played at the Pub

The pub games of Britain

By Arthur Taylor

Book information | Buy now

Full of warm nostalgia, but in a serious meaty way, absorbing detail and fascinating social history… the usual Played in Britain trick (is) luring you into their world and making you care as much as they do about something to which you’d barely given a thought before. And… the quality of the photography is superb.

The Observer

For me, this series of books is invaluable. Previous lack of attention by sports historians to the built environment and the way this reflected or impacted on sport is now being redressed. Long may this excellent work continue.

Richard W Cox (University of Manchester) Sport in History

I love your books... keep this wonderful stuff coming.

Brenda Grace, Pontefract

Hugely impressive and immensely important, Played in Britain (is) rapidly becoming the guardian of the nation's sporting heritage.

www.wordofsport.com

A marvellous series - how did we ever do without it?

Brian Salter, East Grinstead

Played in Britain has a reputation for thoroughness and insight... editor Simon Inglis deserves credit for the clarity of his vision.

John Burnett, Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies