Played in London

Charting the heritage of a city at play

By: Simon Inglis
Price: £25.00 (signed)
Special offer: £20 (signed and post-free to UK)
Format: 360pp softback 280mm x 210mm
ISBN: 978 1 84802 057 3
Published by English Heritage in September 2014

In 2012 London became the first city in the world to have staged three modern Olympic Games. This was no accident, for when it comes to sport, London has form.

From its first century Roman amphitheatre to its extraordinary array of colosseums in the 21st century – venues that have earned global renown for the likes of suburban Wembley, Wimbledon and Twickenham – London has always been a city of spectacles and sporting fever.

In the 12th century crowds would gather at the 'smooth field' (Smithfield) to watch young men and apprentices compete in horse racing and ball games. In Tudor times they flocked to the tiltyards of Whitehall and Greenwich for jousting, while in the 17th century the Stuarts were keen exponents of a game with the familiar name of Pall Mall.

At Hampton Court the world's oldest covered tennis court, with elements dating from 1625, remains in daily use. Every July on the Thames there takes place the world's oldest rowing race, initiated in 1715, while the crack of leather on willow may still be heard at the Artillery Garden in Finsbury, where cricket has been played since at least the 1720s.

London has not only played, but has shaped many of the world's favourite sports, for example athletics, squash, rugby and boxing. In 2013 the Football Association celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation in a tavern in Holborn. Meanwhile in 2014, 46 London clubs were able to trace their roots back 150 years or more, with 32 more set to join that august roster over the coming decade.

The capital also now has more professional football clubs than any city other than Buenos Aires. In the 20th century London was to the fore in the development of greyhound and speedway racing, and even of darts.

Profusely illustrated with detailed maps and in depth research, Played in London is the most ambitious offering yet from the acclaimed Played in Britain series.

Capital sport guaranteed.

A work of cosmic erudition

— Prof James Wisdom,
Brentford and Chiswick Local History Society

This is a quite remarkable cannot be too highly recommended

The Tennis Collector (Journal of the Tennis Collectors' Society)

Our Book of the Year... Quite simply an exceptional work of social and architectural history. Deeply researched, superbly written, beautifully designed and printed with hundreds of photos, illustrations and maps.

London Historians

This magnificent tome will stand as the masterwork authority on the capital’s sporting heritage for many decades to come. We picked it up with only a passing interest in sport. We put it down, 240,000 words later, with a newfound appreciation for the stadia, pitches and sporting traditions of the capital... It’s not only a publishing achievement of the highest order, but also an immensely good read.

The Londonist

A sumptuous, meticulously researched book... also a cracking good read.

— Matthew Syed, The Times

The perfect present for sport-loving Londoners.

— FT Weekend

What makes this journey so enjoyable is Simon Inglis' witty, sagacious and tremendously informative text... London's sporting heritage could have no finer guardian and watch-keeper.

— Groundtastic, Winter 2014

Putting it quite simply, this is a remarkable book… You don't have to be a Londoner to enjoy Played in London, though that would help. You don't even have to like sport, though if you do it will add to your enjoyment considerably. More than anything else, this is just a fascinating education… This book not only feels special, it feels vital too. Some achievement.

Nick Metcalfe, Mail Online

The epic breadth of sport and places covered with a forensic level of research is something to marvel at.

Sport magazine

An amazing feat of social history.

— New Statesman

Simon Inglis is rightly renowned for his writing on the cultural significance of stadia and other sporting buildings… Played in London not only continues the richness … but is unarguably his finest book in this extraordinary Played in [Britain] series yet.

Philosopy Football

Arrived 30 minutes ago and is already my favourite reference work ever. Invaluable.

Scott Thomas

I struggled to lift it but now I can't put it down. This really beautifully produced volume of quite extraordinary scope is worthy of a place on the bookshelves of anyone claiming to have even only the slightest interest in sport or in London.

— Kevin Kelly, athletics historian

Inglis must be the best in the world at this sort of thing… From bear gardens to skateparks, Played in London has the lot…The sheer density of information and illustration means that, despite its handsome layout, Inglis’s epic is not the easiest of books to navigate. But, like London itself, it is endless fun to get lost in.

— Richard Williams, The Guardian

This is a wonderful book. London sports fans will love it… Sports loving architects will adore it. And I would go so far to say that even historians without any interest in sports at all will enjoy Played in London. It’s that good.

— Mike Paterson, London Historians Blog

This masterful study of the heritage of sport in London by @The_SimonInglis is a must buy.

— Vince Taylor, Groundtastic

Inglis has clearly worked his little socks off... If books could receive medals, Played in London would be hogging the centre of the podium. London book of the year so far.

— Matt Brown, The Londonist

Comprehensively detailed… leaves you wanting even more of the wonderfully evocative old photography

— Matt Dickinson, The Times

Got it earlier in the week. Don't even know where to start. Phenomenal research achievement.

Charlie Connelly

I've spent the past week immersed in Played in London, a book that is about as ambitious as any you are likely to see published about London this year... a breathtaking accomplishment, full of terrific nuggets of information... and if this isn’t enough the whole thing is illustrated lavishly throughout... with some spectacular mapping also included.

The Great Wen

Quite magnificent, both as a record of London's sporting heritage and as a brilliant read. I will be dipping into it constantly as a reference.

— Alex Welsh, Chief Executive, London Playing Fields Foundation

The Artillery Garden

The Artillery Garden

London's oldest enclosed sports ground, first occupied by the Honourable Artillery Company in 1641. Together with Finsbury Square and Finsbury Circus, the Garden is the last remnant of Finsbury Fields and Moorfields, one of London's earliest sportscapes.

From page 26 of Played in London
(Photograph © English Heritage.)

Westway Fives

Westway Fives

In the shadow of a West London tower block with traffic from nearby Westway hurtling past, these Eton Fives courts at the Westway Sports Centre are the only public fives courts in Britain.

From page 98 of Played in London
(Photograph © Simon Gill.)

HSBC Pavilion

HSBC Pavilion

One of the largest sports pavilions in London is at the HSBC sports ground in Beckenham, where generations of bank employees have 'played the game'.

From page 135 of Played in London
(Photograph © Simon Inglis.)

Lansdowne Club

Lansdowne Club

The 'Arte Moderne' swimming pool at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair, situated in the basement of a building that dates from 1763 and was once occupied by Gordon Selfridge.

From page 181 of Played in London
(Photograph © Simon Inglis.)

Played in London contents

Chapter 1: Played in London – historical context • Roman amphitheatre • evidence of sporting heritage • William Fitzstephen on 12th century football • Henry VIII's sporting complexes at Whitehall and Hampton Court • Pall Mall • cockfighting and bear baiting • hunting • sportsmens' graves and memorials • horse racing • first floodlit sports event • rincomania • London's counties •


Chapter 2: Open space – start with the park • protection and preservation of places for recreation • Blackheath • Hyde Park • Battersea Park • Welsh Harp • Alexandra Park • Paddington Recreation Ground • London Playing Fields Society • King George's Fields •

Chapter 3: River Thames – the river as a sportscape • detailed maps • Doggett's Coat and Badge Race • London's rowing and sailing clubs • Greenwich to Rotherhithe • Putney Embankment • London Rowing Club • Thames Rowing Club • the Boat Race • Lower & Upper Mall Hammersmith • Duke's Meadows • Barnes and Mortlake • Tideway and Teddington Lock • Richmond and Kingston upon Thames •

Chapter 4: Crystal Palace Park – Great Exhibition 1851 • Sir Joseph Paxton • Punch magazine • National Olympian Association Games 1866 • cricket • football • roller skating • cycling • motor racing • WG Grace • FA Cup Finals • lawn bowls • National Sports Centre •

Chapter 5: Wembley Park – Watkin's Folly • British Empire Exhibition 1924 • Empire Stadium • football • rugby • greyhound racing • speedway • ice hockey • Empire Pool • Empire Games • Sir Arthur Elvin • 1948 Olympic Games • 1966 World Cup • new Wembley Stadium • Brent Civic Centre •

Chapter 6: Lea Valley – long history of sport in area • detailed maps • Hackney Marshes • LCC protection of open space • Eton Manor Boys Club • Lea Valley Regional Park • football • greyhounds • speedway • cycling • running tracks • rowing • Pickett's Lock • Lee Valley Athletics Centre • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park •

Chapter 7: Dulwich – Edward Alleyn's legacy • Dulwich Estate • detailed map • Dulwich College • golf • cricket • tennis • croquet • squash • rugby •

Chapter 8: Westway – residents fight for space • Westway Sports Centre • tennis • football • climbing centre • basketball • horse riding • fives • skateboarding • parkour •

Sports buildings

Chapter 9: Pavilions – role of pavilion in sporting life • City of London School • Brentham Club bowls pavilion • Regent's Park Skaters' Pavilion • Craven Cottage • Mill Hill School • Highgate School • North London Bowling Club • Acton Park Bowls Club • Paddington Recreation Ground • Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field • Oberon Athletic Club • Civil Service pavilion • The Hub, Regent's Park •

Chapter 10: Grandstands – origins of grandstands • licensing issues • Chislehurst sports ground • Archibald Leitch • Fulham • Northolt Park Racecourse • Oscar Faber • double sided grandstand Finchley • Polytechnic Stadium • UCS Old Boys grandstand • Motspur Park • Queen Elizabeth Stadium • Allianz Park • Sandown Park • Chelsea • Highbury • Kempton Park •

Chapter 11: Membership clubs and institutes – Londoners and clubs • Baron de Berenger's National Club, Chelsea • Queen's Club • Hurlingham Club • Ranelagh Club • Wimbledon Village Club • Surbiton Club • Manor Club & Institute, John Innes • Brentham Club • CIU clubs • Regent Street Polytechnic • Quintin Hogg • St Bride Foundation Institute • Alford House • Roehampton Youth Club • Crown & Manor Club •

Chapter 12: Company sports clubs – Work and play in London life • Banks and Business House sport • detailed map of Beckenham company grounds • Prudential Assurance • Private Banks • Thames Ironworks • Bank of England • Great Western Railway • Chiswick Polish Company • Watneys • Debenhams • Bourne & Hollingsworth • Bryant & May • Tudor Livesey Club • company sports days • Barclays Bank • London Passenger Transport Board • Ford • J Lyons • BBC • Charles Herbert • Civil Service • Three Banks • HSBC • Pearl Assurance • Port of London Authority • Metropolitan Police •

Chapter 13: Gymnasiums and drill halls – gymnastics history • outdoor gymnasiums • military gymnasiums • schools and institutes • the German Gymnasium • drill halls • boxing gyms •

Chapter 14: Billiard halls – London's billiard table manufacturers • Thurston's • Burroughes and Watts • Burton's billiard rooms • pub billiard rooms • Romford Snooker Club • Temperance Billiard Halls around London •

Chapter 15: Skateparks – skateboarding from the 1970s • Harrow Skatepark • South Bank skateboarders • Rom Skatepark, Hornchurch •

Chapter 16: Outdoor swimming pools – outdoor swimming in Thames, Serpentine, rivers and ponds • Peerless Pool, Islington • detailed map of London lidos • Serpentine Swimming Club • Hampstead Heath swimming ponds • Herbert Morrison's 'City of Lidos' • Lidos in parks • Tooting Bec Lido • Brockwell Lido • London Fields Lido • Parliament Hill Fields Lido • Charlton Lido • Uxbridge Lido • The Oasis • Pools on the Park •

Chapter 17: Indoor swimming pools – evolution of indoor baths and wash houses • detailed map of historic baths • Forest Hill Baths • Dulwich Baths • Ladywell Baths • Camberwell Baths • Hackney Baths • Wimbledon Baths • Woolwich Baths • Westminster Baths & Wash House • Fulham Baths • Laurie Grove Baths • Newington Baths • St Bride Foundation Institute • Northampton Institute • York Hall • Porchester Centre • Marshall Street Baths • Ironmonger Row Baths • Royal Automobile Club • Dolphin Square • Lansdowne Club • Pioneer Health Centre • Seymour Baths • Poplar Baths • Hornchurch Sports Centre • National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace • Golden Lane pool • Putney Leisure Centre • Brixton Recreation Centre • Aquatics Centre, Stratford •


Chapter 18: Bowls – one of London's oldest sports • 19th century revival by Scots • growth of clubs in London • influence of WG Grace • loss of pub greens • Sun Inn, Barnes • Paddington Sports Club • Temple Bowling Club • Battersea Park • Parliament Hill Fields • Finsbury Square •

Chapter 19: Archery – from warfare to recreation • Artillery Garden • Aquarius Archery Club • Finsbury Fields • Toxophilite Society • Braganza Shield •

Chapter 20: Cricket – long history in London • Thomas Lord • Marylebone Cricket Club • Chislehurst Common • Richmond Green • Cricket Green, Mitcham • development of Lord's • MCC Museum • the Oval • Surrey County Cricket Club • Leyton County Cricket Ground • Ealing Cricket Club • Malden Wanderers • Richmond Cricket Club • WG Grace • graves and blue plaques • John Wisden •

Chapter 21: Golf – Scottish origins • detailed map of London courses, past and present • Blackheath Golf Club • London Scottish Golf Club • Royal Wimbledon Golf Club • Wimbledon Common Golf Club • Merton Park Golf Club • Chislehurst Golf Club • Richmond Golf Club • Beckenham Place Park • Harry Colt • Harry Vardon • Aquarius Golf Club • Mitcham Golf Club • Stanmore Golf Club • Chingford Golf Club • Royal Epping Forest Golf Club •

Chapter 22: Football – over 800 years of football in London • detailed maps of London clubs • mob games • Harrow School • Charterhouse • establishment of the Football Association • Ebenezer Morley • Charles Alcock • Arthur Kinnaird • Henry Norris • Archibald Leitch • Fulham • Chelsea • Tottenham Hotspur • Bill Nicholson • Millwall • Arsenal • Woolwich • Highbury • the Arsenalisation of the Emirates Stadium • Gunnersville N5 • Queens Park Rangers • detailed map of previous QPR grounds • Brentford • Charlton Athletic • Crystal Palace • West Ham United • Leyton Orient • Spotted Dog • Dagenham and Redbridge • Dulwich Hamlet • AFC Wimbledon & MK Dons • Hendon • Barnet • statues • Old Parmiterians •

Chapter 23: Rugby – London's role in rugby history • William Webb Ellis • formation of Rugby Football Union • Blackheath • Wasps • London Scottish • Richmond Athletic Ground • Old Deer Park • Richmond Ladies • Rosslyn Park • Ealing Trailfinders • Saracens • Twickenham • World Rugby Museum • Sir George Rowland Hill • Harlequins • Adrian Stoop • Rugby league at White City • London Broncos • London Skolars •

Chapter 24: Real Tennis – origins in Europe • played in London from 15th century • Hampton Court Palace • ball making • role of Joseph Bickley and his secret formula • Queen's Club • Lord's • Middlesex University •

Chapter 25: Fives – origins at Eton College • Highgate School • High Elms, Orpington • Westway • Westminster School • Rugby fives at Whitgift School •

Chapter 26: Rackets and squash – origins in 18th century prisons • Pentonville taverns • Prince's Club • Harrow School • evolution of squash • Copped Hall • Latymer Prep School •

Chapter 27: Lawn tennis – evolution of game • rubber balls and lawnmowers • Major Walter Wingfield • Down House • All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club • Queen's Club • Paddington Sports Club • Bexley Lawn Tennis Club • Beckenham Cricket and Tennis Club • development of Wimbledon, Centre Court and AELTC Museum • Fred Perry •

Chapter 28: Athletics – running footmen • pedestrianism • development of Victorian running grounds • Hackney Wick • Bow Running Grounds • west London's role in development • Beaufort House • Lillie Bridge riot • London Athletic Club • Stamford Bridge • White City • Woolwich Common • Motspur Park • Thames Hare & Hounds • Blackheath Harriers • Belgrave Harriers • Highgate Harriers • Polytechnic Harriers • Battersea Park • Linford Christie Stadium • National Sports Centre • Olympic Stadium •

Chapter 29: Cycling – early bicycle makers in London • 'Velocipede Derby', Crystal Palace 1869 • growth of purpose built cycle tracks • Paddington Recreation Ground • Kensal Rise • Herne Hill • experiments with track surfaces • Catford • Wood Green • Canning Town • Olympic Velodrome •

Chapter 30: Greyhound racing – high society goes to the dogs in 1930s • invention of electric hare • detailed map of greyhound and speedway tracks • White City • Harringay • Wembley • formation National Greyhound Racing Club • unlicensed 'flapper' tracks • Clapton • Hendon • Wandsworth • Catford • Walthamstow • Wimbledon • Romford •

Chapter 31: Speedway – rise and fall in 80 years • High Beech, Epping Forest • Stamford Bridge • White City • West Ham • Hackney Wick • New Cross • cycle speedway • Woodford • Canning Town Recreation Ground •

Chapter 32: Conclusions – protection of sporting heritage assets • loss of significant buildings • preservation of club archives • commemorating 2012 Olympics and Paralympics • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park •