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

Scottish sporting heritage event in Stirling

Scottish sporting heritage event in Stirling

January 24 2017

Stirling University is the venue for a day's programme of talks, discussions and film screenings, celebrating Scotland's sporting heritage. Organised by the Sport in Museums Network for February 24, speakers include shinty expert Hugh MacLennan, Richard McBrearty of the Scottish Football Museum and Angela Howe of the British Golf Museum.

More details, visit

Next Played in Britain book release – Sporting Heritage from the Air

Next Played in Britain book release – Sporting Heritage from the Air

January 24 2017

Played in Britain and Historic England are delighted to announce the next title in the series – a collection of images from the legendary Aerofilms archive, covering the period 1919-1980. Titled England's Sporting Heritage from the Air, the book will be published in 2018 with text written by Simon Inglis. More details to follow later this year.

For more details of other books in this Aerofilms series, visit

From Harlow to K2 Beyond – modern leisure centres celebrated

From Harlow to K2 Beyond – modern leisure centres celebrated

December 14 2016

Britain's recent sporting heritage is the theme of a website launched by the Sports Leisure Legacy. Its aim is to trace the evolution of post war sports and leisure centres, from the pioneering 1959 Harlow Sports Centre, managed by the founding father of recreation management, George Torkildsen (1934-2005), to the K2 Centre in Crawley, designed by S+P Architects and opened in 2005.

For more information, visit

Major setback for Haggerston Pool campaigners

Major setback for Haggerston Pool campaigners

December 8 2016

After sixteen years of raised hopes and broken dreams, the Save Haggerston Pool campaign has suffered yet another setback with the news that none of the three schemes now being considered by Hackney Council includes provision for swimming at the baths, which opened in 1904 but has been mothballed since 2000. This follows a breakdown in negotiations with the last bidder who had intended to restore the Grade II listed pool.

For more on this story, visit

Unique 1980s leisure centre in London listed

Unique 1980s leisure centre in London listed

November 3 2016

Years behind schedule and massively over budget, Brixton Recreation Centre was one of Britain's most sophisticated leisure centres when it opened in 1985. But now the six-level centre, with a swimming pool on the first floor and a climbing wall in the atrium, is much loved and well used. In 1996 it made history when Nelson Mandela visited. Two decades later it has been listed Grade II by Historic England.

Visit the Historic ngland website for more on this story and the listing description

World Cup hero honoured at Craven Cottage

World Cup hero honoured at Craven Cottage

October 3 2016

Where once stood a controversial statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage football ground on the banks of the River Thames, Fulham FC have unveiled a rather more meaningful sculpture of former full back, George Cohen, one of the World Cup winning team of 1966. The artist, Douglas Jennings, was also responsible for the statue of Johhny Haynes on the Stevenage Road side of the ground, as featured in Played in London.

To watch a film of the unveiling, visit

Selected titles from Played in Britain

Liquid Assets

Great Lengths

The historic indoor swimming pools of Britain

By Dr Ian Gordon and Simon Inglis

Book information | Buy now

Played in Birmingham

Bowled Over

The bowling greens of Britain

By Hugh Hornby

Book information | Buy now

Played in Tyne and Wear

Played in London

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