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...
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
1851 Rugby rulebook discovered in depository sells for £13,000
May 16 2016
Discovered in a depository and belonging to fomer pupil WH Waddington (who later became the Prime Minister of France), a pocket-sized rulebook listing the 'Laws of Football' at Rugby School in 1851 has been sold at auction for £13,000 to a private collector. One rule states that 'All matches are drawn after five days, or after three days if no goal is kicked'.
• For more on the story, visit bbc.co.uk
Paralympic heritage wins lottery funding
May 12 2016
Britain's sporting heritage has received a boost with the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £214,600 to a newly formed National Paralympic Heritage Trust. Based at the world famous Stoke Mandeville Stadium - whose story is told in The British Olympics - the NPHT seeks to bring together personal stories, memorabilia and artefacts from the Paralympic movement, with a view to creating outreach programmes, a heritage centre and a virtual museum.
• For more on the story, visit paralympics.org.uk
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
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.
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
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
Selected titles from Played in Britain
Uppies and Downies
The extraordinary football games of Britain
By Hugh Hornby
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.
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.
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