Played in Britain

Charting the heritage of a nation at play

Spring sale on Played in Britain books!

Great offers on The British Olympics, Great Lengths, Uppies and Downies, Played at the Pub and many more!

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...

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

Fears for lidos in the southwest

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 both pools see Liquid Assets and

For more on the Historic Pools Network see our news article from 2013.

German Gymnasium to become restaurant

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

Home of British boxing listed

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

For more on York Hall, see our book Great Lengths.

Military rackets court listed

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

Cantilevered stand

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

Click here for images of the stand and more on this story.

People diving into a pool

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.

Read the full story.

Selected titles from Played in Britain

Charles Buchan's Arsenal Gift Book

Charles Buchan's Arsenal Gift Book

Edited by 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

Played in Manchester

Played in Manchester

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By Simon Inglis

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.

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