Played in London


    Charting the heritage of a city at play
    Played in London large image 1
        Paperback / softback

        Publication Date

        1 Sep 2014


        From its first century Roman amphitheatre to the 21st century Olympic Stadium at Stratford, London has always been a city of spectacles and sporting fever. 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.

        Main Summary

          From its first century Roman amphitheatre to the 21st century Olympic Stadium at Stratford, London has always been a city of spectacles and sporting fever.

          In the 12th century crowds would gather at Smithfield to watch horse racing and ball games. In Tudor times they flocked to the tiltyards of Whitehall and Westminster to enjoy jousting, while in the 17th century the Stuarts were keen exponents of a game with the familiar name of Pall Mall.

          From more recent times Wembley, Wimbledon, Twickenham, Lord’s and the Oval are known around the world. As the first city to have hosted three Olympic Games, London has also led the way in the development of athletics, boxing and gymnastics and, in the 20th century, of greyhound and speedway racing, and even of darts, once a fairground favourite, now contested in front of massive crowds at one of the capital’s latest coliseums, the O2 Arena at Greenwich.

          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!

          Additional Information


          Played in Britain


          Simon Inglis

          Author Information

          Simon Inglis has written and contributed to numerous books on the history, architecture and heritage of sport. He is editor of the Played in Britain series.

          Publishing Status




          Number of Illustrations


          Number of Pages





            Foreword by Rod Sheard


            1. Played in London


            2. Open space

            3. River Thames

            4. Crystal Palace Park

            5. Wembley Park

            6. Lea Valley

            7. Dulwich

            8. Westway


            9. Pavillions

            10. Grandstands

            11. Membership clubs and institutes

            12. Company sports clubs

            13. Gymnasiums and drill halls

            14. Billiard halls

            15. Skateparks

            16. Outdoor swimming pools

            17. Indoor swimming pools


            18. Bowls

            19. Archery

            20. Cricket

            21. Golf

            22. Football

            23. Rugby

            24. Real tennis

            25. Fives

            26. Rackets and squash

            27. Lawn tennis

            28. Athletics

            29. Cycling

            30. Greyhound racing

            31. Speedway

            32. Conclusions





              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, Talking Sport, 29th August 2014
              This latest volume from Simon Inglis provides a fascinating portrait of the sporting grounds in the 2012 Olympic City of London. ... Magnificent illustrations, many of them reproduced for the first time in many years, are complemented by a bright, informative but never over powering text.
              Philip Barker
              Journal of Olympic History, December 2014
              ... the research that has gone into this book is staggering. It is a massive topic, for sure, but with a copy in my hands, now I really understand. Played in London is the size and weight of a medium telephone directory (remember those?), is beautifully laid out in four column format and illustrated with nearly 1000 photographs, illustrations and maps. In short, it's a quality object. This is a wonderful book. Yes, it relates the history of sport as it should. But it really succeeds in nailing the heritage in its title: it invokes nostalgia really powerfully. London sports fans will love this book, of that there is no doubt. 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, September 2014
              This is a quite remarkable publication and I am not at all sure that I - or any reviewer - can do it justice; you must see it for yourself to discover the range, the depth and the detail, all of which are soon evident. ... It cannot ve too highly recommended.
              Gerald Gurney
              The Tennis Collector, January 2015
              An amazing feat of social history.
              N S Recommends
              New Statesman
              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
              Any popular culture enthusiasts, serious or casual, will gain from Inglis' attention to the role of sport in the community and as an essential part of everyday life.
              All Out Cricket
              If books could receive medals, Played in London woudl be hogging the centre of the podium. London book of the year so far.
              Londonist, 3 September 2014
              This fascinating exploration 'charting the heritage of a city at play' looks at the spaces, buildings and sports that have shaped London's landscape over a millennia, revealing all sorts of intriguing historical facts along the way... this book, packed with original photographs and detailed maps, is a cornucopia of great stories and sporting events. October 2014
              The greatest sporting city on Earth? After 360 pages of Simon Inglis's comprehensively detailed book, it is a safe bet that Rio de Janeiro, Melbourne, Barcelona and any other pretenders will be throwing in the towel and accepting London's pre-eminence. ... Part of the "Played in Britain" series, it leaves you wanting even more of the wonderfully evocative old photography ...
              Matt Dickinson
              The Times, Saturday review, September 6 2014
              Simon Inglis is rightly renowned for his writing on the cultural significance of stadia and other sporting buildings. Simon's 'Played in Britain' project has helped transform our understanding of what these structures mean to their localities, and his latest account of this relationship, 'Played in London' not only continues the richness of Simon's explanation but is unarguably his finest book in this extraordinary 'Played in...' series yet.
              Mark Perryman
              Philosophy Football
              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.
              A sumptuous, meticulously researched book... also a cracking good read.
              Matthew Syed
              The Times
              Sports historian Inglis's compendium of facts, figures, stories, street signs and photos is the perfect present for sports loving Londoners.
              Neil O'Sullivan
              Financial Times
              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
              The epic breadth of sport and places covered with a forensic level of research is something to marvel at. ... a beautiful encyclopaedia of London's sporting and social history.
              Sport Magazine
              Simon Inglis's writing is lucid, personal and thought provoking. ... the book is endlessly fascinating in its detail and depth. It is almost impossible to do full justice to such a compendious publication - there are hundreds of illustrations (photographs, paintings, drawings, maps and more) which enhance and illuminate the text.
              Richard Pugh
              Journal of the Islington Archaeology & History Society, Summer 2015, Vol 5, No. 2
              Don't expect idly re-cycled facts, the author has done an awesome research job that might come across as geeky, if it wasn't so interesting. ... Really - a great read!
              Greyhound Star, August 2014 issue
              ... a breathtaking accomplishment, full of terrific nuggests of information ...
              The Great Wen
              '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 Metcalf
              Mail Online
              In 'Played in London', Inglis, the writer of a number of highly acclaimed books about football history and stadium architecture, turns his attentions - over 360 pages of exhaustive research, stunning design and truly fascinating insight - towards sport in its wider social context, with specific regard to the English capital.
              Tony Hannan