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Played in London

Price: £25.00

by Simon Inglis

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.

The book is divided into four main sections - Sportscapes, Sports buildings, Sports and conclusions.

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. 
Much detail for this chapter was provided by the Crystal Palace Foundation.

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

360 pages paperback