Birmingham

Birmingham

Overview


Birmingham is a city
City status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the British monarch to a select group of communities. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a "city". Nonetheless, this appellation carries its own prestige and, consequently, competitions...

 and metropolitan borough
Metropolitan borough
A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district in England, and is a subdivision of a metropolitan county. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, metropolitan boroughs are defined in English law as metropolitan districts, however all of them have been granted or regranted...

 in the West Midlands
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...

 of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, with a population of 1,036,900 (2010 estimate), and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation
West Midlands conurbation
The West Midlands conurbation is the name given to the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the large towns of Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull, Stourbridge, Halesowen in the English West Midlands....

, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a population of 2,284,093 (2001 census). Birmingham's metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 is also the United Kingdom's second most populous with a population of 3,683,000.

A medium-sized market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 during the medieval period, Birmingham grew to international prominence in the 18th century at the heart of the Midlands Enlightenment
Midlands Enlightenment
The Midlands Enlightenment, also known as the West Midlands Enlightenment or the Birmingham Enlightenment, was a cultural manifestation of the Age of Enlightenment that developed in Birmingham and the wider English Midlands during the second half of the eighteenth century.At the core of the...

 and subsequent Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide developments in science, technology and economic organisation, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society
Industrial society
In sociology, industrial society refers to a society driven by the use of technology to enable mass production, supporting a large population with a high capacity for division of labour. Such a structure developed in the west in the period of time following the Industrial Revolution, and replaced...

.
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Encyclopedia


Birmingham is a city
City status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the British monarch to a select group of communities. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a "city". Nonetheless, this appellation carries its own prestige and, consequently, competitions...

 and metropolitan borough
Metropolitan borough
A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district in England, and is a subdivision of a metropolitan county. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, metropolitan boroughs are defined in English law as metropolitan districts, however all of them have been granted or regranted...

 in the West Midlands
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...

 of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, with a population of 1,036,900 (2010 estimate), and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation
West Midlands conurbation
The West Midlands conurbation is the name given to the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the large towns of Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull, Stourbridge, Halesowen in the English West Midlands....

, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a population of 2,284,093 (2001 census). Birmingham's metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 is also the United Kingdom's second most populous with a population of 3,683,000.

A medium-sized market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 during the medieval period, Birmingham grew to international prominence in the 18th century at the heart of the Midlands Enlightenment
Midlands Enlightenment
The Midlands Enlightenment, also known as the West Midlands Enlightenment or the Birmingham Enlightenment, was a cultural manifestation of the Age of Enlightenment that developed in Birmingham and the wider English Midlands during the second half of the eighteenth century.At the core of the...

 and subsequent Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide developments in science, technology and economic organisation, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society
Industrial society
In sociology, industrial society refers to a society driven by the use of technology to enable mass production, supporting a large population with a high capacity for division of labour. Such a structure developed in the west in the period of time following the Industrial Revolution, and replaced...

. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world". Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and highly-skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation, and provided a diverse and resilient economic base for an industrial prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. Its resulting high level of social mobility
Social mobility
Social mobility refers to the movement of people in a population from one social class or economic level to another. It typically refers to vertical mobility -- movement of individuals or groups up from one socio-economic level to another, often by changing jobs or marrying; but can also refer to...

 also fostered a culture of broad-based political radicalism
Political radicalism
The term political radicalism denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems in fundamental ways...

, that under leaders from Thomas Attwood
Thomas Attwood
Thomas Attwood was a British economist, the leading figure of the underconsumptionist Birmingham School of economists, and, as the founder of the Birmingham Political Union, a leading figure in the public campaign for the Great Reform Act of 1832.He was born in Halesowen, and attended Halesowen...

 to Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

 was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, and a pivotal role in the development of British democracy.

Today Birmingham is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta− world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network
Globalization and World Cities Research Network
The Globalization and World Cities Research Network, commonly abbreviated to GaWC, is a think tank based in the Geography department at Loughborough University in England, that studies the relationships between world cities in the context of globalization....

; and an important transport, retail, events and conference hub. With a GDP of $90bn (2008 estimate, PPP
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

), the economy of the urban agglomeration is the second largest in the UK and the 72nd largest in the world. Birmingham's three universities and two university college
University college
The term "university college" is used in a number of countries to denote college institutions that provide tertiary education but do not have full or independent university status. A university college is often part of a larger university...

s make it the largest centre of higher education in the United Kingdom outside London, and its major cultural institutions, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is a British orchestra based in Birmingham, England. The Orchestra's current chief executive, appointed in 1999, is Stephen Maddock...

, the Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet is one of the three major ballet companies of the United Kingdom, alongside the Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet....

 and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Barber Institute of Fine Arts
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is an art gallery and concert hall in Birmingham, England. It is situated in purpose-built premises on the campus of the University of Birmingham....

, enjoy international reputations. The Big City Plan is a large redevelopment plan currently underway in the city centre
Birmingham City Centre
Birmingham city centre is the business, retail and leisure hub of Birmingham, England. Following the removal of the Inner Ring Road, the city centre is newly defined as being the area within the Middle Ring Road. Birmingham city centre is undergoing massive redevelopment with the Big City Plan...

 with the aim of making Birmingham one of the top 20 most liveable cities in the world within 20 years.

People from Birmingham are known as 'Brummie
Brummie
Brummie is a colloquial term for the inhabitants, accent and dialect of Birmingham, England, as well as being a general adjective used to denote a connection with the city, locally called Brum...

s', a term derived from the city's nickname of 'Brum'. This may originate from the city's dialect name, Brummagem
Brummagem
Brummagem is the local name for the city of Birmingham, England, and the dialect associated with it...

, which may in turn have been derived from one of the city's earlier names, 'Bromwicham'. There is a distinctive Brummie dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

 and accent
Accent (linguistics)
In linguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation.An accent may identify the locality in which its speakers reside , the socio-economic status of its speakers, their ethnicity, their caste or social class, their first language In...

, both of which differ from the adjacent Black Country
Black Country
The Black Country is a loosely defined area of the English West Midlands conurbation, to the north and west of Birmingham, and to the south and east of Wolverhampton. During the industrial revolution in the 19th century this area had become one of the most intensely industrialised in the nation...

.

History


Pre-history and medieval


Although there is evidence of human activity in the Birmingham area dating back 500,000 years, stone age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 artefacts suggest only overnight hunting parties, woodland activities such as tree felling, and possible seasonal settlements. The area was first intensively settled and cultivated during the bronze age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, when a substantial influx of population, possibly caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area, can be seen from the large number of burnt mound
Burnt mound
A burnt mound is an archaeological feature consisting of a mound of shattered stones and charcoal, normally with an adjacent hearth and trough. The trough could be rock-cut, wood-lined or clay-lined to ensure it was watertight...

s that have been been found across the city.

The establishment of Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era. The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas
Beormingas
The Beormingas were a tribe or clan in Anglo-Saxon England, possibly forming an early administrative unit of the Kingdom of Mercia. The name literally means "Beorma's people" in Old English, and Beorma is likely to have been either the leader of the group during its settlement in Britain or a real...

 – suggesting that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th Century as the primary settlement of an Anglian
Angles
The Angles is a modern English term for a Germanic people who took their name from the ancestral cultural region of Angeln, a district located in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany...

 tribal grouping of that name. The Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 of 1086 introduced the Norman spelling Bermingeham, described as a small village, worth 20 shilling
Shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

s.

In 1166 the holder of the manor of Birmingham, Peter de Birmingham, was granted a royal charter to hold a market in his castle, which in time became known as the Bull Ring, transforming Birmingham from a village to a market town. The de Birmingham family
De Birmingham family
The de Birmingham family held the lordship of Birmingham in England for four hundred years and managed its growth from a small village into a thriving market town. They also helped invade Ireland and were rewarded with the Barony of Athenry...

 continued to be Lords of Birmingham until the 1530s when Edward de Birmingham was cheated out of its lordship by John Dudley
John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland
John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, KG was an English general, admiral, and politician, who led the government of the young King Edward VI from 1550 until 1553, and unsuccessfully tried to install Lady Jane Grey on the English throne after the King's death...

.

Early modern


As early as the 16th century, Birmingham's access to supplies of iron ore and coal meant that metalworking industries became established. By the time of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 in the 17th century, Birmingham had become an important manufacturing town with a reputation for producing small arms
Small arms
Small arms is a term of art used by armed forces to denote infantry weapons an individual soldier may carry. The description is usually limited to revolvers, pistols, submachine guns, carbines, assault rifles, battle rifles, multiple barrel firearms, sniper rifles, squad automatic weapons, light...

. Arms manufacture in Birmingham became a staple trade and was concentrated in the area known as the Gun Quarter
Gun Quarter
The Gun Quarter is the name given to an area of the city of Birmingham, in England, traditionally associated with the manufacture of firearms and sporting guns such as shotguns and Double barreled shotguns. The area is to the north of the city centre, bounded by Steelhouse Lane, Shadwell Street...

. During the 18th century, Birmingham was home to the Lunar Society
Lunar Society
The Lunar Society of Birmingham was a dinner club and informal learned society of prominent figures in the Midlands Enlightenment, including industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals, who met regularly between 1765 and 1813 in Birmingham, England. At first called the Lunar Circle,...

, an important gathering of local thinkers and industrialists.

Birmingham's explosive industrial expansion started earlier than that of the textile-manufacturing towns
Mill town
A mill town, also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories .- United Kingdom:...

 of the North of England, and was driven by a different set of factors. Instead of the economies of scale
Economies of scale
Economies of scale, in microeconomics, refers to the cost advantages that an enterprise obtains due to expansion. There are factors that cause a producer’s average cost per unit to fall as the scale of output is increased. "Economies of scale" is a long run concept and refers to reductions in unit...

 inherent in a low-paid, unskilled workforce producing bulk commodities such as cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 in increasingly large, mechanised units of production, Birmingham's industrial development was built on the adaptability and creativity of a highly-paid workforce, practicing a broad range of skilled specialist trades with a strong division of labour
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

, in a highly entrepreneurial economy of small, often self-owned workshops. Levels of inventiveness were exceptional: between 1760 and 1850 – the core years of the English industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 – Birmingham residents registered over three times as many patents as those of any other British town or city.

Innovation in 18th century Birmingham often took the form of incremental series of small-scale improvements to existing products or processes, but also included major developments that lay at the heart of the emergence of industrial society
Industrial society
In sociology, industrial society refers to a society driven by the use of technology to enable mass production, supporting a large population with a high capacity for division of labour. Such a structure developed in the west in the period of time following the Industrial Revolution, and replaced...

. In 1709 the Birmingham-trained Abraham Darby I
Abraham Darby I
Abraham Darby I was the first, and most famous, of three generations with that name in an English Quaker family that played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. He developed a method of producing pig iron in a blast furnace fuelled by coke rather than charcoal...

 moved to Coalbrookdale
Coalbrookdale
Coalbrookdale is a village in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England, containing a settlement of great significance in the history of iron ore smelting. This is where iron ore was first smelted by Abraham Darby using easily mined "coking coal". The coal was drawn from drift mines in the sides...

 in Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

 and built the first blast furnace
Blast furnace
A blast furnace is a type of metallurgical furnace used for smelting to produce industrial metals, generally iron.In a blast furnace, fuel and ore and flux are continuously supplied through the top of the furnace, while air is blown into the bottom of the chamber, so that the chemical reactions...

 to successfully smelt iron ore with coke
Coke
Coke may refer to:* Coca-Cola, a soft drink originally based on coca leaf extract** The Coca-Cola Company, makers of this drink** Cola, any soft drink similar to Coca-Cola** Soft drink, any non-alcoholic carbonated beverage* Coca, a plant...

, transforming the quality, volume and scale on which it was possible to produce cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

. In 1732 Lewis Paul
Lewis Paul
Lewis Paul was the original inventor of roller spinning, the basis of the water frame for spinning cotton in a cotton mill.-Life and work:Lewis Paul was of Huguenot descent. His father was physician to Lord Shaftesbury...

 and John Wyatt
John Wyatt (inventor)
John Wyatt , an English inventor, was born near Lichfield and was related to Sarah Ford, Doctor Johnson's mother. A carpenter by trade he began work in Birmingham on the development of a spinning machine...

 invented roller spinning, the "one novel idea of the first importance" in the development of the mechanised cotton industry
Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution
The industrial revolution changed the nature of work and society. Opinion varies as to the exact date, but it is estimated that the First Industrial Revolution took place between 1750 and 1850, and the second phase or Second Industrial Revolution between 1860 and 1900. The three key drivers in...

. In 1741 they opened the world's first cotton mill
Upper Priory Cotton Mill
The Upper Priory Cotton Mill, opened in Birmingham, England in the summer of 1741, was the world's first cotton mill. Established by Lewis Paul and John Wyatt in a former warehouse in the Upper Priory, near Paul's house in Old Square, it used the roller spinning machinery that they had developed...

 in Birmingham's Upper Priory. In 1765 Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton, FRS was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the...

 opened the Soho Manufactory
Soho Manufactory
The Soho Manufactory was an early factory which pioneered mass production on the assembly line principle, in Soho, Smethwick, England, during the Industrial Revolution.-Beginnings:...

, pioneering the combination and mechanisation under one roof of previously separate manufacturing activities through a system known as "rational manufacture". As the largest manufacturing unit in Europe this come to symbolise the emergence of the factory system
Factory system
The factory system was a method of manufacturing first adopted in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s and later spread abroad. Fundamentally, each worker created a separate part of the total assembly of a product, thus increasing the efficiency of factories. Workers,...

. In 1746 John Roebuck
John Roebuck
This article is about the English inventor. For the 19th century British politician, see John Arthur Roebuck.John Roebuck FRS was an English inventor who played an important role in the Industrial Revolution and who is known for developing the industrial-scale manufacture of sulfuric acid.-Life...

 invented of the lead chamber process
Lead chamber process
The lead chamber process was an industrial method used to produce sulfuric acid in large quantities. It has been largely supplanted by the contact process....

, enabling the large-scale manufacture of sulphuric acid, and in 1780 James Keir
James Keir
James Keir FRS was a Scottish chemist, geologist, industrialist, and inventor, and an important member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham.- Life and work :...

 developed a process for the bulk manufacture of alkali
Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the...

. Together these marked the birth of the modern chemical industry
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

. Most significant, however, was the development in 1776 of the industrial steam engine
Watt steam engine
The Watt steam engine was the first type of steam engine to make use of steam at a pressure just above atmospheric to drive the piston helped by a partial vacuum...

 by James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

 and Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton, FRS was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the...

. Freeing for the first time the manufacturing capacity of human society from the limited availability of hand, water and animal power, this was arguably the pivotal moment of the entire industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, and a key factor in the worldwide increases in productivity that would follow over the following century.

Regency and Victorian


Birmingham rose to national political prominence in the campaign for political reform in the early nineteenth century, with Thomas Attwood
Thomas Attwood
Thomas Attwood was a British economist, the leading figure of the underconsumptionist Birmingham School of economists, and, as the founder of the Birmingham Political Union, a leading figure in the public campaign for the Great Reform Act of 1832.He was born in Halesowen, and attended Halesowen...

 and the Birmingham Political Union
Birmingham Political Union
The Birmingham Political Union was a political organisation in Great Britain during the early nineteenth century. Founded by Thomas Attwood, its original purpose was to campaign in favour of extending and redistributing suffrage rights to the working class of the kind set out in the Reform Bill of...

 bringing the country to the brink of civil war during the Days of May
Days of May
The Days of May was a period of social unrest and political tension in the United Kingdom that took place in May 1832, following the wrecking by Tories in the House of Lords of the Third Reform Bill, which aimed to extend parliamentary representation to the middle class and to the newly...

 that preceded the passing of the Great Reform Act in 1832. The Union's meetings on Newhall Hill
Newhall Street
Newhall Street is a street located in Birmingham, England.Newhall Street stretches from Colmore Row in the city centre by St Phillip's Cathedral in a north-westerly direction towards the Jewellery Quarter. Originally the road was the driveway to New Hall occupied by the Colmore family...

 in 1831 and 1832 were the largest political assemblies Britain had ever seen. Lord Durham
John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham
John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham GCB, PC , also known as "Radical Jack" and commonly referred to in history texts simply as Lord Durham, was a British Whig statesman, colonial administrator, Governor General and high commissioner of British North America...

, who drafted the act, wrote that "the country owed Reform to Birmingham, and its salvation from revolution".

By the 1820s, an extensive canal
Canals of the United Kingdom
The canals of the United Kingdom are a major part of the network of inland waterways in the United Kingdom. They have a colourful history, from use for irrigation and transport, through becoming the focus of the Industrial Revolution, to today's role for recreational boating...

 system had been constructed, giving greater access to natural resources to fuel to industries. Railways arrived in Birmingham in 1837 with the arrival of the Grand Junction Railway
Grand Junction Railway
The Grand Junction Railway was an early railway company in the United Kingdom, which existed between 1833 and 1846 when it was merged into the London and North Western Railway...

, and a year later, the London and Birmingham Railway
London and Birmingham Railway
The London and Birmingham Railway was an early railway company in the United Kingdom from 1833 to 1846, when it became part of the London and North Western Railway ....

. During the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

, the population of Birmingham grew rapidly to well over half a million and Birmingham became the second largest population centre in England. Birmingham was granted city status
City status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the British monarch to a select group of communities. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a "city". Nonetheless, this appellation carries its own prestige and, consequently, competitions...

 in 1889 by Queen Victoria. Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

, who was once mayor of Birmingham and later became an MP, and his son Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

, who was Lord Mayor of Birmingham and later the British Prime Minister, are two of the most well-known political figures who have lived in Birmingham. The city established its own university
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

 in 1900.

Twentieth century and contemporary


Birmingham suffered heavy bomb
Bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

 damage during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

's "Birmingham Blitz
Birmingham Blitz
The Birmingham Blitz was the heavy bombing by the Nazi German Luftwaffe of the city of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, beginning on 9 August 1940 and ending on 23 April 1943...

", and the city was extensively redeveloped during the 1950s and 1960s. This included the construction of large tower block
Tower block
A tower block, high-rise, apartment tower, office tower, apartment block, or block of flats, is a tall building or structure used as a residential and/or office building...

 estates, such as Castle Vale
Castle Vale
Castle Vale is a housing estate located near Erdington currently Castle Vale votes with Tyburn Ward which is part of Erdington constituency, northeast of Birmingham city centre in England...

. The Bull Ring was reconstructed and New Street station
Birmingham New Street Station
Birmingham New Street is the main railway station serving Birmingham, England, located in the city centre. It is an important hub for the British railway system, being served by a number of important long-distance and cross-country lines, including the Birmingham loop of the West Coast Main Line,...

 was redeveloped.

In the decades following World War II, the ethnic makeup of Birmingham changed significantly, as it received waves of immigration from the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 and beyond. The city's population peaked in 1951 at 1,113,000 residents.

Birmingham remained by far Britain's most prosperous provincial city as late as the 1970s, with household incomes exceeding even those of London and the South East, but its economic diversity and capacity for regeneration declined in the decades that followed World War II as Central Government
Government of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Government is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government is led by the Prime Minister, who selects all the remaining Ministers...

 sought to restrict the city's growth and disperse industry and population to the stagnating areas of Scotland, Wales and Northern England
Northern England
Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but rather an informal amalgamation of counties. The southern extent of the region is roughly the River Trent, while the North is bordered...

. These measures
hindered "the natural self-regeneration of businesses in Birmingham, leaving it top-heavy with the old and infirm", and the city became increasingly dependent on the motor industry. The recession of the early 1980s
Early 1980s recession
The early 1980s recession describes the severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States and Japan exited recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect other OECD nations through at least 1985...

 saw Birmingham's economy collapse, with unprecedented levels of unemployment and outbreaks of social unrest
1985 Handsworth riots
The second Handsworth riots began on 9 September 1985 and finished two days later. The riots were reportedly sparked by the arrest of a man near the Acapulco Cafe, Lozells and a police raid on the Villa Cross public house in the same area. Hundreds of people attacked police and property, looting...

 in inner-city districts.

In recent years, Birmingham has been transformed, with the construction of new squares like Centenary Square and Millennium Place. Old streets, buildings and canals have been restored, the pedestrian subways have been removed, and the Bull Ring shopping centre has been completely redeveloped. These were the first steps in the ambitious plans of Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council
The Birmingham City Council is the body responsible for the governance of the City of Birmingham in England, which has been a metropolitan district since 1974. It is the most populated local authority in the United Kingdom with, following a reorganisation of boundaries in June 2004, 120 Birmingham...

 for the redevelopment of Birmingham, which has become known as the Big City Plan.

Government


Birmingham City Council
Government of Birmingham
Birminghamshown within West MidlandsThis page is about the Government of Birmingham, England.-Civic history:Most of Birmingham was historically a part of Warwickshire, though the modern city also includes villages and towns historically in Staffordshire or Worcestershire.Until the 1760s, Birmingham...

 is the largest local authority in the UK and the largest council in Europe with 120 councillor
Councillor
A councillor or councilor is a member of a local government council, such as a city council.Often in the United States, the title is councilman or councilwoman.-United Kingdom:...

s representing 40 wards. Its headquarters are at the Council House
Council House, Birmingham
Birmingham City Council House in Birmingham, England is the home of Birmingham City Council. It provides office accommodation for both employed council officers, including the Chief Executive, and elected council members, plus the council chamber, Lord Mayor's Suite, committee rooms and a large and...

 in Victoria Square
Victoria Square, Birmingham
Victoria Square is a pedestrianised public square in Birmingham, England. It is home to both the Town Hall and the Council House, and directly adjacent to Chamberlain Square....

. No single party is in overall control and the council is run by a Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

/Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 coalition led by Mike Whitby
Mike Whitby
Mike Whitby is an English Conservative Party politician and current leader of Birmingham City Council, a post he has held since June 2004. He is one of three Conservative councillors representing the Harborne ward in the west of the city...

.

The city is also the seat of regional government for the West Midlands
West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is an official region of England, covering the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. It contains the second most populous British city, Birmingham, and the larger West Midlands conurbation, which includes the city of Wolverhampton and large towns of Dudley,...

 region of England
Regions of England
In England, the region is the highest tier of sub-national division used by central Government. Between 1994 and 2011, the nine regions had an administrative role in the implementation of UK Government policy, and as the areas covered by elected bodies...

 as the home of the region's Government Office
Government Office
Government Offices for the English Regions were established in 1994 by the John Major administration. Until 2011, they were the primary means by which a wide range of policies and programmes of the Government of the United Kingdom were delivered in the regions of England.There were Government...

, the regional development agency
Regional Development Agency
In the United Kingdom, a regional development agency is a non-departmental public body established for the purpose of development, primarily economic, of one of England's Government Office regions. There is one RDA for each of the NUTS level 1 regions of England...

 Advantage West Midlands
Advantage West Midlands
-Advantage West Midlands – Regional Development Agency:Advantage West Midlands was established in 1999 as one of nine Regional Development Agencies in England. RDAs were created by the UK Government to drive sustainable economic development and social and physical regeneration through a...

, and the West Midlands Regional Assembly
West Midlands Regional Assembly
The West Midlands Regional Assembly was the regional assembly for the West Midlands region of England, established in 1999. It was based in Birmingham...

.

Birmingham's ten parliamentary constituencies are represented in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 by one Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

, one Liberal Democrat and eight Labour MPs. In the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 the city forms part of the West Midlands
West Midlands (European Parliament constituency)
West Midlands is a constituency of the European Parliament. For 2009 it elected 6 MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation. The constituency will also elect a "virtual MEP" who will be able to sit in the Parliament if the Treaty of Lisbon comes into effect...

 European Parliament constituency
European Parliament constituency
Members of the European Parliament are elected by the population of the member states of the European Union , divided into constituencies....

, which elects six Members of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

.

Birmingham was originally part of Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

, but expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, absorbing parts of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Worcestershire is a non-metropolitan county, established in antiquity, located in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire" NUTS 2 region...

 to the south and Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

 to the north and west. The city absorbed Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield is a suburb of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England. Sutton is located about from central Birmingham but has borders with Erdington and Kingstanding. Sutton is in the northeast of Birmingham, with a population of 105,000 recorded in the 2001 census...

 in 1974 and became a metropolitan borough in the new West Midlands county
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...

. Up until 1986, the West Midlands County Council
West Midlands County Council
The West Midlands County Council was, from 1974 to 1986, the upper-tier administrative body for the West Midlands county, a metropolitan county in England....

 was based in Birmingham City Centre
Birmingham City Centre
Birmingham city centre is the business, retail and leisure hub of Birmingham, England. Following the removal of the Inner Ring Road, the city centre is newly defined as being the area within the Middle Ring Road. Birmingham city centre is undergoing massive redevelopment with the Big City Plan...

.

Law enforcement in Birmingham is carried out by West Midlands Police
West Midlands Police
West Midlands Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the metropolitan county of West Midlands in England.Covering an area with nearly 2.6 million inhabitants, which includes the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and also the Black Country; the force is made up...

, whose headquarters are at Lloyd House in Birmingham City Centre. With 87.92 recorded offences per 1000 population in 2009–10, Birmingham's crime rate is above the average for England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

, but lower than any of England's other major core cities
English Core Cities Group
The Core Cities Group is a coalition of some of England's major regional cities:*Birmingham - West Midlands*Bristol - South West England*Leeds - Yorkshire and the Humber*Liverpool - North West England*Manchester - North West England...

, and lower than many smaller cities such as Reading
Reading, Berkshire
Reading is a large town and unitary authority area in England. It is located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway, some west of London....

, Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 or Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

. Fire and rescue services in Birmingham are provided by West Midlands Fire Service
West Midlands Fire Service
West Midlands Fire Service is the statutory fire and rescue service responsible for fire protection, prevention, intervention and emergency rescue in the county of the West Midlands in England....

 and emergency medical care by West Midlands Ambulance Service
West Midlands Ambulance Service
The West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the second-largest ambulance service in the UK. It is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.It is one of 12 Ambulance Trusts...

.

Geography


See also Constituent areas of Birmingham
Constituent areas of Birmingham, England
This is a list of the constituent towns, villages and areas of Birmingham in England.Between 1889 and 1995, the city boundaries were expanded to include many places which were once towns or villages in their own right, many of which still retain a distinctive character...



Birmingham is located in the centre of the West Midlands region of England on the Birmingham Plateau
Birmingham Plateau
The Birmingham Plateau is a plateau in the Midlands of England. Forming the central and largest part of the larger Midlands Plateau, it is separated by the valley of the River Blythe from the East Warwickshire Plateau to the east, and by the valley of the River Stour from the Mid-Severn Plateau to...

 – an area of relatively high ground, ranging around 500 to 1,000 feet (150–300 m) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

 and crossed by Britain's main north-south watershed
Water divide
A drainage divide, water divide, divide or watershed is the line separating neighbouring drainage basins...

 between the basins of the Rivers Severn
River Severn
The River Severn is the longest river in Great Britain, at about , but the second longest on the British Isles, behind the River Shannon. It rises at an altitude of on Plynlimon, Ceredigion near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales...

 and Trent
River Trent
The River Trent is one of the major rivers of England. Its source is in Staffordshire on the southern edge of Biddulph Moor. It flows through the Midlands until it joins the River Ouse at Trent Falls to form the Humber Estuary, which empties into the North Sea below Hull and Immingham.The Trent...

. To the south west of the city lie the Lickey Hills
Lickey Hills
The Lickey Hills are a range of hills in Worcestershire, England, eleven miles to the south-west of the centre of Birmingham near the villages of Lickey and Barnt Green...

, Clent Hills
Clent Hills
The Clent Hills lie 9⅓ miles southwest of Birmingham city centre in Clent, Worcestershire, England. The closest towns are Stourbridge and Halesowen, both in the West Midlands conurbation. The Clent Hills range consists of, in order from north-west to south-east: Wychbury Hill, Clent Hill , and...

 and Walton Hill
Walton Hill
At 316 metres above sea level, Walton Hill is the highest point in the range of hills in northern Worcestershire known as the Clent Hills. It is the highest point for 21 miles in all directions, and as such commands an excellent panorama...

, which reach 1033 feet (315 m) and have extensive views over the city.

The City of Birmingham forms a conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

 with the largely residential borough of Solihull
Metropolitan Borough of Solihull
The Metropolitan Borough of Solihull is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands, in west-central England. It is named after its largest town, Solihull, from which Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council is based. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary...

 to the south east, and with the city of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

 and the industrial towns of the Black Country
Black Country
The Black Country is a loosely defined area of the English West Midlands conurbation, to the north and west of Birmingham, and to the south and east of Wolverhampton. During the industrial revolution in the 19th century this area had become one of the most intensely industrialised in the nation...

 to the north west. Together these make up the West Midlands Urban Area, which covers 59972 ha (600 km²; 232 sq mi) and has a population of 2,284,093 (2001 Census). Beyond the urban area, Birmingham's metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 – the surrounding area to which it is closely economically tied through commuting
Commuting
Commuting is regular travel between one's place of residence and place of work or full time study. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations when not work related.- History :...

 – has a population of 3,683,000 (2001 Census) and includes the former Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

n capital of Tamworth
Tamworth
Tamworth is a town and local government district in Staffordshire, England, located north-east of Birmingham city centre and north-west of London. The town takes its name from the River Tame, which flows through the town, as does the River Anker...

 and the cathedral city of Lichfield
Lichfield
Lichfield is a cathedral city, civil parish and district in Staffordshire, England. One of eight civil parishes with city status in England, Lichfield is situated roughly north of Birmingham...

 in Staffordshire to the north; the industrial city of Coventry
Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

 and the Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

 towns of Nuneaton
Nuneaton
Nuneaton is the largest town in the Borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth and in the English county of Warwickshire.Nuneaton is most famous for its associations with the 19th century author George Eliot, who was born on a farm on the Arbury Estate just outside Nuneaton in 1819 and lived in the town for...

, Warwick
Warwick
Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England. The town lies upon the River Avon, south of Coventry and just west of Leamington Spa and Whitnash with which it is conjoined. As of the 2001 United Kingdom census, it had a population of 23,350...

 and Leamington Spa
Leamington Spa
Royal Leamington Spa, commonly known as Leamington Spa or Leamington or Leam to locals, is a spa town in central Warwickshire, England. Formerly known as Leamington Priors, its expansion began following the popularisation of the medicinal qualities of its water by Dr Kerr in 1784, and by Dr Lambe...

 to the east; and the Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Worcestershire is a non-metropolitan county, established in antiquity, located in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire" NUTS 2 region...

 towns of Redditch
Redditch
Redditch is a town and local government district in north-east Worcestershire, England, approximately south of Birmingham. The district had a population of 79,216 in 2005. In the 19th century it became the international centre for the needle and fishing tackle industry...

 and Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove is a town in Worcestershire, England. The town is about north east of Worcester and south west of Birmingham city centre. It had a population of 29,237 in 2001 with a small ethnic minority and is in Bromsgrove District.- History :Bromsgrove is first documented in the early 9th century...

 to the south west.

Much of the area now occupied by the city was originally a northern reach of the ancient Forest of Arden, whose former presence can still be felt in the city's dense oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 tree-cover and in the large number of districts such as Moseley
Moseley
Moseley is a suburb of Birmingham, England, two miles south of the city centre. The area is a popular cosmopolitan residential location and leisure destination, with a number of bars and restaurants...

, Saltley
Saltley
Saltley is an inner-city area of Birmingham, east of the city centre. The area is currently part of the Washwood Heath ward, although formerly a feature of the Nechells ward...

, Yardley
Yardley, Birmingham
Yardley is an area in east Birmingham, England. It is also a council constituency, managed by its own district committee.Birmingham Yardley is a constituency and its Member of Parliament is John Hemming.-Features:...

, Stirchley
Stirchley, West Midlands
Stirchley is a southern area of Birmingham, England. Close to the districts of Kings Heath, Bournville, Selly Park, Cotteridge and King's Norton...

 and Hockley
Hockley, Birmingham
Hockley is a central inner-city district in the city of Birmingham, England. It lies about one mile north-west of the city centre, and is served by the Jewellery Quarter station...

 with names ending in "-ley": the Old English -lēah meaning "woodland clearing".


Geology


Geologically, Birmingham is dominated by the Birmingham Fault which runs diagonally through the city from the Lickey Hills in the south west, passing through Edgbaston
Edgbaston
Edgbaston is an area in the city of Birmingham in England. It is also a formal district, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Edgbaston ward and the wards of Bartley Green, Harborne and Quinton....

, the Bull Ring to Erdington
Erdington
Erdington is a suburb northeast of Birmingham city centre, England and bordering Sutton Coldfield. It is also a council constituency, managed by its own district committee...

 and Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield is a suburb of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England. Sutton is located about from central Birmingham but has borders with Erdington and Kingstanding. Sutton is in the northeast of Birmingham, with a population of 105,000 recorded in the 2001 census...

 in the north east. To the south and east of the fault the ground is largely softer Mercia Mudstone Group (formerly known as Keuper
Keuper
The Keuper is a lithostratigraphic unit in the subsurface of large parts of west and central Europe. The Keuper consists of dolostone, shales or claystones and evaporites that were deposited during the Middle and Late Triassic epochs...

 Marl
Marl
Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and aragonite. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay...

), interspersed with beds of Bunter pebbles
Bunter (geology)
Bunter beds are sandstone deposits containing rounded pebbles, such as can notably be found in Warwickshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Devon and Dorset in England...

 and crossed by the valleys of the Rivers Tame
River Tame, West Midlands
The River Tame is the main river of the West Midlands, and the most important tributary of the River Trent. The Tame is about 40 km from source at Oldbury to its confluence with the Trent near Alrewas, but the main river length of the entire catchment, i.e...

, Rea
River Rea
The River Rea is a small river which passes through Birmingham, England. The name of the river derives from a root found in many Indo-European languages and means "to run" or "to flow". It frequently bursts its banks after heavy rain....

 and Cole
River Cole, West Midlands
The River Cole is a river in the English Midlands. It rises in Redhill, near Kings Norton, South of Birmingham. After flowing through Birmingham, it passes Coleshill, to which it gave its name. It joins the River Blythe, of which it is a tributary, near Ladywalk, shortly before the Blythe meets...

 along with their tributaries. Much of this would have been laid down during the Permian
Permian
The PermianThe term "Permian" was introduced into geology in 1841 by Sir Sir R. I. Murchison, president of the Geological Society of London, who identified typical strata in extensive Russian explorations undertaken with Edouard de Verneuil; Murchison asserted in 1841 that he named his "Permian...

 and Triassic
Triassic
The Triassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about 250 to 200 Mya . As the first period of the Mesozoic Era, the Triassic follows the Permian and is followed by the Jurassic. Both the start and end of the Triassic are marked by major extinction events...

 periods. To the north and west of the fault, varying from 150 to 600 feet (45–180 m) higher than the surrounding area and underlying much of the city centre, lies a long ridge of harder Keuper
Keuper
The Keuper is a lithostratigraphic unit in the subsurface of large parts of west and central Europe. The Keuper consists of dolostone, shales or claystones and evaporites that were deposited during the Middle and Late Triassic epochs...

 Sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

.

Climate


The climate in Birmingham is classified as a temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 maritime climate
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

, like much of the British Isles, with average maximum temperatures in summer (July) being around 21.5 °C (70.7 °F); and in winter (January) around 6.5 °C (43.7 °F). Extreme weather is rare but the city has been known to experience tornado
Tornado
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider...

s – the most recent being in July 2005
Birmingham Tornado (UK)
The Birmingham Tornado was one of the strongest tornadoes recorded in the United Kingdom in nearly 30 years, occurring on 28 July 2005 in the suburbs of Birmingham. It formed on a day when strong tornadoes were expected to develop across the Midlands and eastern England...

 in the south of the city, damaging homes and businesses in the area.

Occasional summer heatwaves, such as the one experienced in July 2006, have become more common in recent years. The Absolute maximum temperature, set during August 1990, is 34.9 °C (94.8 °F) Winters had become milder since the 1990s with snow becoming much less frequent, although this seems to have been reversed in the last couple of years with the winter of 2009–10 being the coldest for some 30 years. Similar to most other large cities, Birmingham has a considerable 'urban heat island
Urban heat island
An urban heat island is a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon. The temperature difference usually is larger at night...

' effect. During the coldest night recorded in Birmingham (14 January 1982), for example, the temperature fell to -20.8 °C at Birmingham Airport on the city's eastern edge, but just -12.9 °C at Edgbaston, near the city centre.

Relative to other large UK conurbations, Birmingham is a snowy city due to its inland location and comparatively high elevation. For the period 1961-1990 Elmdon averaged 13.0 days of snow lying annually (Compared to 5.33 at London Heathrow), this despite Elmdon being one of the less elevated and thus less snow prone part of the city. Snow showers often pass through the city via the Cheshire gap
Cheshire Plain
The Cheshire Plain is a relatively flat expanse of lowland situated almost entirely within the county of Cheshire in northwest England. It is bounded by the hills of North Wales to the west, and the Peak District of Derbyshire and North Staffordshire to the east and southeast...

 on North Westerly airstreams, but can also come off the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 from North Easterly airstreams.

For the Period 1971-2000, the warmest day of the year on average is 28.8 °C (83.8 °F) and the coldest night typically falls to -9.0 C. Some 11.2 days of the year should rise to a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above and 51.6 nights report an air frost.

Environment


There are over 8000 acre (3,237 ha) of parkland open spaces in Birmingham. The largest of the parks is Sutton Park
Sutton Park
Sutton Park, in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England, is one of the largest urban parks in Europe and the largest outside a capital city; it is larger than Richmond Park in London....

 covering 2400 acre (971 ha) making it the largest urban nature reserve in Europe. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are botanical gardens situated in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. The gardens are close to the centre of Birmingham and open every day of the year, from sunrise to sunset. They are located at ....

 are a Victorian creation, with a conservatory and bandstand, close to the city centre. The Winterbourne Botanic Garden
Winterbourne Botanic Garden
Winterbourne Botanic Garden is the botanic garden of the University of Birmingham, located in Edgbaston, Birmingham. It is adjacent to Edgbaston Pool, a Site of Special Scientific Interest....

, maintained by the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

, is also located close to the city centre.

Birmingham has many corridors of wildlife that lie in both informal settings such as the Project Kingfisher and Woodgate Valley Country Park
Woodgate Valley Country Park
Woodgate Valley Country Park is a Country Park within the Bartley Green and Quinton districts of Birmingham. Other Birmingham Country Parks are, Sutton Park and Lickey Hills Country Park. The park is maintained as a Wildlife habitat but also has farm animals....

 and in a selection of parks such as Handsworth Park
Handsworth Park
Handsworth Park is a park in the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England. It lies 10 minutes by bus from the centre of Birmingham and comprises 63 acres of landscaped grass slopes, including a large boating lake and a smaller pond fed by the Farcroft and Grove Brooks, flower beds, mature trees and...

 and Small Heath Park. The City's horticultural training facility at King's Heath Park is paired up with Pershore College.
More traditional environmental concerns are constantly raised by volunteer pressure group Birmingham Friends of the Earth. That group advocate sustainable travel such as local rail revival, walking and cycling, reduction in energy demand and waste generally, and the development of environmental technologies in the city.

Demography

Religion Percentage of
population
Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

0.3%
Christian 59%
Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

2%
Jewish 0.2%
Muslim 14.3%
Sikh
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

2.9%
No religion
Irreligion
Irreligion is defined as an absence of religion or an indifference towards religion. Sometimes it may also be defined more narrowly as hostility towards religion. When characterized as hostility to religion, it includes antitheism, anticlericalism and antireligion. When characterized as...

12.4%
No answer 8.4%


Birmingham is the most populous British city outside London, with 1,028,700 inhabitants according to 2009 estimates. Birmingham's metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 is also the United Kingdom's second most populous with a population of 3,683,000. At the time of the 2001 UK Census, Birmingham's population was 977,087, having fallen since reaching a peak of 1,112,685 in the 1951 Census.

The population density is 9,451 inhabitants per square mile (3,649/km²) compared to the 976.9 inhabitants per square mile (377.2/km²) for England. Females represented 51.6% of the population whilst men represented 48.4%. More women were 70 or over. 60.4% of the population was aged between 16 and 74, compared to 66.7% in England as a whole.

The ONS
Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.- Overview :...

 estimates that, in 2007, 62.1% of the population was White British
White British
White British was an ethnicity classification used in the 2001 United Kingdom Census. As a result of the census, 50,366,497 people in the United Kingdom were classified as White British. In Scotland the classification was broken down into two different categories: White Scottish and Other White...

, 2.4% White Irish, 2.2% Other White
White Other (United Kingdom Census)
The term Other White is used in the UK census to describe people who self-identify as white persons who are not British nor Irish. The category does not comprise a single ethnic group but is instead a method of identification for white people who are not represented by other white census categories...

, 21% Asian
British Asian
British Asian is a term used to describe British citizens who descended from mainly South Asia, also known as South Asians in the United Kingdom...

, 6.7% Black
Black British
Black British is a term used to describe British people of Black African descent, especially those of Afro-Caribbean background. The term has been used from the 1950s to refer to Black people from former British colonies in the West Indies and Africa, who are residents of the United Kingdom and...

, 1.2% Chinese
British Chinese
British Chinese , including British-born Chinese are people of Chinese ancestry who were born in, or have migrated to, the United Kingdom. They are part of the Chinese diaspora, or overseas Chinese...

, 3.2% of mixed race and 1.2% of other ethnic heritage. 57% of primary and 52% of secondary pupils are from non-white British families. 16.5% of the population was born outside the United Kingdom.

60.3% of households were found to be owner occupied and 27.7% were rented from either the city council, housing association or other registered social landlord. The remaining 11.8% of households were rented privately or lived rent free
Department of Social Security
The Department of Social Security is the name of a defunct governmental agency in the United Kingdom.The DSS replaced the older Department of Health and Social Security, from 1988 until 2001, when it was itself largely replaced as a department of the Government of the United Kingdom by the...

.

The Bimingham Larger Urban Zone, a Eurostat
Eurostat
Eurostat is a Directorate-General of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide the European Union with statistical information at European level and to promote the integration of statistical methods across the Member States of the European Union,...

 measure of the functional city-region approximated to local government districts, has a population of 2,357,100 in 2004. In addition to Birmingham itself, the LUZ includes the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley
Metropolitan Borough of Dudley
The Metropolitan Borough of Dudley is a metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It was created in 1974, and is made up of the towns of Dudley , Stourbridge , Halesowen, Brierley Hill, Amblecote, Sedgley and Coseley...

, Sandwell
Sandwell
Sandwell is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands with a population of around 289,100, and an area of . The borough is named after Sandwell Priory, and spans a densely populated part of both the Black Country, and the West Midlands conurbation, encompassing the urban towns of Blackheath,...

, Solihull
Metropolitan Borough of Solihull
The Metropolitan Borough of Solihull is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands, in west-central England. It is named after its largest town, Solihull, from which Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council is based. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary...

 and Walsall
Metropolitan Borough of Walsall
The Metropolitan Borough of Walsall is a local government district in the Black Country part of the West Midlands, England, with the status of a metropolitan borough. It is named after its largest settlement, Walsall, but covers a larger area which also includes the towns of Aldridge, Brownhills,...

, along with the districts of Lichfield
Lichfield (district)
Lichfield is a local government district in Staffordshire, England. It is administered by Lichfield District Council, based in Lichfield.The dignity and privileges of the City of Lichfield are vested in the parish council of the 14 km² Lichfield civil parish...

, Tamworth
Tamworth
Tamworth is a town and local government district in Staffordshire, England, located north-east of Birmingham city centre and north-west of London. The town takes its name from the River Tame, which flows through the town, as does the River Anker...

, North Warwickshire
North Warwickshire
North Warwickshire is a local government district and borough in Warwickshire, England. The main town in the district is Atherstone where the council is based...

 and Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove (district)
Bromsgrove is a local government district in Worcestershire, England. Its council is based in the town of Bromsgrove.It borders the built up area of Birmingham to the north...

.

Economy


With a city GDP of $90bn (2008 est., PPP
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

), the urban agglomeration around Birmingham has the second-largest economy in the United Kingdom and the 72nd-largest in the world. Although the city grew to prominence as a manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 and engineering centre, its economy today is dominated by the service sector
Tertiary sector of industry
The tertiary sector of the economy is one of the three economic sectors, the others being the secondary sector and the primary sector .The service sector consists of the "soft" parts of the economy, i.e...

, which in 2008 accounted for 86% of its employment. Birmingham is the largest centre for employment in public administration
Public administration
Public Administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal.....

, education and health
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 in Great Britain, and after Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

 and Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 it is the third-largest centre for employment in banking, finance and insurance outside London. It is ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network
Globalization and World Cities Research Network
The Globalization and World Cities Research Network, commonly abbreviated to GaWC, is a think tank based in the Geography department at Loughborough University in England, that studies the relationships between world cities in the context of globalization....

.

Two of Britain's largest banks were founded in Birmingham – Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank Plc was a British retail bank which operated in England and Wales from 1765 until its merger into Lloyds TSB in 1995; it remains a registered company but is currently dormant. It expanded during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and took over a number of smaller banking companies...

 (now Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group plc is a major British financial institution, formed through the acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB in 2009. As at February 2010, HM Treasury held a 41% shareholding through UK Financial Investments Limited . The Group headquarters is located at 25 Gresham Street in London, with...

) in 1765 and the Midland Bank
Midland Bank
Midland Bank Plc was one of the Big Four banking groups in the United Kingdom for most of the 20th century. It is now part of HSBC. The bank was founded as the Birmingham and Midland Bank in Union Street, Birmingham, England in August 1836...

 (now HSBC Bank
HSBC Bank (Europe)
HSBC Bank plc is one of the four major clearing banks in the United Kingdom and is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings. The business ranges from the traditional High Street roles of personal finance and commercial banking, to private banking, consumer finance as well as corporate and...

) in 1836 – as well as Ketley's Building Society
Ketley's Building Society
Ketley's Building Society, founded in Birmingham, England in 1775, was the world's first building society.The society was formed by Richard Ketley, the landlord at the "Golden Cross" inn at 60 Snow Hill...

, the world's first building society
Building society
A building society is a financial institution owned by its members as a mutual organization. Building societies offer banking and related financial services, especially mortgage lending. These institutions are found in the United Kingdom and several other countries.The term "building society"...

, in 1775. In 2010, Cushman & Wakefield stated that Birmingham was the third best place in the United Kingdom to locate a business, and the 18th best in Europe.

Tourism is also an increasingly important part of the local economy. With major facilities such as the International Convention Centre
International Convention Centre, Birmingham
The International Convention Centre is a major conference venue in central Birmingham, England. The centre includes Symphony Hall and it faces Centenary Square. The building has another entrance leading to the canals of Birmingham. The Convention Quarter area, which includes Brindleyplace, is...

 and National Exhibition Centre
National Exhibition Centre
The National Exhibition Centre is an exhibition centre in Birmingham, England. It is near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and is adjacent to Birmingham International Airport and Birmingham International railway station. It has 20 interconnected halls, set in grounds of 628 acres making it the...

 the Birmingham area accounts for 42% of the UK conference and exhibition trade. The city's sporting and cultural venues attract large numbers of visitors.

The city's three Universities, (Aston University
Aston University
Aston University is a "plate glass" campus university situated at Gosta Green, in the city centre of Birmingham, England.Established in 1895 as the Birmingham Municipal Technical School, Aston was granted its Royal Charter as Aston University on 22 April 1966...

, University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

 and Birmingham City University
Birmingham City University
Birmingham City University is a British university in the city of Birmingham, England. It is the second largest of three universities in the city, the other two being the Aston University and University of Birmingham...

) and two University colleges have over 65,000 students and employ around 15,000 staff, making a significant contribution to the city's economy as well as its research and innovation base.
With an annual turnover of £2.43bn, Birmingham city centre is the UK's third largest retail centre, with the country's busiest shopping centre – the Bullring – and the largest department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

 outside London – House of Fraser
House of Fraser
House of Fraser is a British department store group with over 60 stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was established in Glasgow, Scotland in 1849 as Arthur and Fraser. By 1891 it was known as Fraser & Sons. The company grew steadily during the early 20th century, but after the Second...

 on Corporation Street
Corporation Street, Birmingham
Corporation Street is a main shopping street in Birmingham city centre, England.It runs from the law courts at its northern end to the centre of New Street at its southern.- Planning :...

. The City also has one of only four Selfridges
Selfridges
Selfridges, AKA Selfridges & Co, is a chain of high end department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK and was opened on 15 March 1909.More recently, three other stores have been...

 department stores, and the second largest branch of Debenhams
Debenhams
Debenhams plc is a British retailer operating under a department store format in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, and franchise stores in other countries. The Company was founded in the eighteenth century as a single store in London and has now grown to around 160 shops...

 in the country. In 2004 the city was ranked as the third best place to shop in the United Kingdom, behind the West End of London
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

 and Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, being described as a "world-class shopping centre".

Manufacturing accounts for 10% of employment in Birmingham, a figure below the average for Great Britain as a whole. Despite the decline of manufacturing in the city several significant industrial plants remain, including Jaguar Cars in Castle Bromwich
Castle Bromwich
Castle Bromwich is a suburb situated within the northern part of the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull in the English county of West Midlands. It is bordered by the rest of the borough to the south east, North Warwickshire to the east and north east; also Shard End to the south west, Castle Vale,...

 and Cadbury Trebor Bassett in Bournville
Bournville
Bournville is a model village on the south side of Birmingham, England, best known for its connections with the Cadbury family and chocolate – including a dark chocolate bar branded "Bournville". It is also a ward within the council constituency of Selly Oak and home to the Bournville Centre...

.

Although the city has seen economic growth greater than the national average in the 21st century the benefits have been uneven, with commuters from the surrounding area obtaining many of the more skilled jobs. The two parliamentary constituencies with the highest unemployment rates in the UK – Ladywood and Sparkbrook and Small Heath – are both in inner-city Birmingham. Growth has also added to stresses on the city's transport. Many major roads and the central New Street railway station
Birmingham New Street Station
Birmingham New Street is the main railway station serving Birmingham, England, located in the city centre. It is an important hub for the British railway system, being served by a number of important long-distance and cross-country lines, including the Birmingham loop of the West Coast Main Line,...

 operate over capacity at peak times. In 2011 it was announced that Birmingham will become an enterprise zone, which will help small businesses in the region to increase economic growth.

Music



Birmingham has had a vibrant and varied musical history over the last century. Birmingham bands have made a major contribution to the musical culture of the United Kingdom, with many contemporary bands citing Birmingham bands as a major influence. In the 1960s, the "Brum Beat
Brum Beat
Brum Beat was a magazine about the music of Birmingham, England and the neighbouring towns. It was started as Midlands Beat by promoter and band-manager Jim Simpson, who sold it to its latter editor, Steve Morris, who in turn relaunched it in newspaper format as The Beat, before converting it into...

" era featured blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 and early progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 bands, such as The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues are an English rock band. Among their innovations was a fusion with classical music, most notably in their 1967 album Days of Future Passed....

 and Velvett Fogg
Velvett Fogg
Velvett Fogg are a cult British psychedelic rock band. Tony Iommi was a member in mid-1968, but soon left to form Black Sabbath. Their lone eponymous album was released in January 1969, and re-released on CD by Sanctuary Records in 2002.-Development:...

. The city is often described as the birthplace of heavy metal music
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

, with pioneering metal bands from the late 1960s and 1970s such as Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath are an English heavy metal band, formed in Aston, Birmingham in 1969 by Ozzy Osbourne , Tony Iommi , Geezer Butler , and Bill Ward . The band has since experienced multiple line-up changes, with Tony Iommi the only constant presence in the band through the years. A total of 22...

 and Judas Priest
Judas Priest
Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band from Birmingham, England, formed in 1969. The current line-up consists of lead vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis. The band has gone through several drummers over the years,...

, as well as two members of Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

, having come from Birmingham. The next decade saw the influential metal band Napalm Death
Napalm Death
Napalm Death are a death metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1981. While none of its original members remain in the group, the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent for most of the band's ...

 arise from the city.

In the 1970s, members of The Move
The Move
The Move, from Birmingham, England, were one of the leading British rock bands of the 1960s. They scored nine Top 20 UK singles in five years, but were among the most popular British bands not to find any success in the United States....

 and The Idle Race
Idle Race
The Idle Race were a British rock group from Birmingham in the late 1960s and early 1970s who had a cult following but never enjoyed mass commercial success...

 formed the Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra were a British rock group from Birmingham who released eleven studio albums between 1971 and 1986 and another album in 2001. ELO were formed to accommodate Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne's desire to create modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones...

 and Wizzard
Wizzard
Wizzard was a Birmingham-based band formed by Roy Wood, former member of The Move and co-founder of Electric Light Orchestra. The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits states, "Wizzard was Roy Wood just as much as Wings were Paul McCartney."-Biography:...

. The 1970s also saw the rise of reggae
Reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

 and ska
Ska
Ska |Jamaican]] ) is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s, and was the precursor to rocksteady and reggae. Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues...

 in the city with such bands as Steel Pulse
Steel Pulse
Steel Pulse is a roots reggae musical band. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, in Birmingham, England, composed of David Hinds , Basil Gabbidon , and Ronald McQueen .-History:...

, UB40
UB40
UB40 are a British reggae/pop band formed in 1978 in Birmingham. The band has placed more than 50 singles in the UK Singles Chart, and has also achieved considerable international success. One of the world's best-selling music artists, UB40 have sold over 70 million records.Their hit singles...

, Musical Youth
Musical Youth
Musical Youth are a British reggae band. The group originally formed in 1979 at Duddeston Manor School in Birmingham, UK. They are best remembered for their successful 1982 Grammy-nominated single, "Pass the Dutchie". The group featured two sets of brothers, Kelvin and Michael Grant, plus Junior...

, Beshara
Beshara (band)
Beshara were a British reggae band from Moseley, Birmingham, that formed in 1976. The band are most notable for their 1981 Lovers rock hit "Men Cry Too", which reached number 6 in the reggae charts. Although known for their Lovers rock singles, they were also very capable of recording roots reggae...

 and The Beat
The Beat (band)
The Beat are a 2 Tone ska revival band founded in England in 1978. Their songs fuse ska, pop, soul, reggae and punk rock, and their lyrics deal with themes of love, unity and sociopolitical topics....

, expounding racial unity with politically leftist lyrics and multiracial line-ups, mirroring social currents in Birmingham at that time. Seminal 1980s pop band Duran Duran
Duran Duran
Duran Duran are an English band, formed in Birmingham in 1978. They were one of the most successful bands of the 1980s and a leading band in the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" of the United States...

 are also from Birmingham.

Birmingham has also produced a number of popular bands and musicians including Ocean Colour Scene
Ocean Colour Scene
Ocean Colour Scene are an English Britpop band formed in Moseley, Birmingham in 1989. They have had five Top 10 albums and six Top 10 singles to date.-Early days :...

, The Spencer Davis Group, The Streets
The Streets
The Streets were a British rap/garage project from Birmingham, United Kingdom, led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Skinner and has included a myriad of other contributors most notably drummer Johnny Drum Machine, vocalist Kevin Mark Trail and the Italian-American beatmaker Leroy.The...

, and The Twang
The Twang
The Twang are an indie rock band from Birmingham, England, formed in 2001. The band have released two studio albums - Love It When I Feel Like This and Jewellery Quarter...

. Musicians Jeff Lynne
Jeff Lynne
Jeffrey "Jeff" Lynne is an English songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer who gained fame as the leader and sole constant member of Electric Light Orchestra and was a co-founder and member of The Traveling Wilburys together with George Harrison, Bob...

, Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English vocalist, whose musical career has spanned over 40 years. Osbourne rose to prominence as lead singer of the pioneering English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, whose radically different, intentionally dark, harder sound helped spawn the heavy metal...

, Tony Iommi
Tony Iommi
Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as the founding member of pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, and its sole continual member through multiple personnel changes.Iommi is widely recognised as one of the most important and influential guitarists in...

, John Lodge, Roy Wood
Roy Wood
Roy Adrian Wood is an English singer-songwriter and musician. He was particularly successful in the 1960s and 1970s as member and co-founder of the bands The Move, Electric Light Orchestra, and Wizzard. As a songwriter, he contributed a number of hits to the repertoire of these bands.-Career:Wood...

, Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading
Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, MBE is a British singer, songwriter and guitarist. Armatrading is a three-time Grammy Award-nominee and has been nominated twice for BRIT Awards as Best Female Artist...

, Toyah Willcox
Toyah Willcox
Toyah Ann Willcox is an English actress and singer. In a career spanning more than thirty years Toyah has had 13 top 40 singles, released 22 studio albums, written two books, appeared in over forty stage plays and ten feature films, as well as voicing and presenting numerous television shows...

, Denny Laine
Denny Laine
Denny Laine is an English songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, guitarist, and lead singer of The Moody Blues' 1965 debut album "The Magnificent Moodies"; and, later, best known for his role as co-founder of Wings...

, Sukshinder Shinda, Steve Winwood
Steve Winwood
Stephen Lawrence "Steve" Winwood is an English international recording artist whose career spans nearly 50 years. He is a songwriter and a musician whose genres include soul music , R&B, rock, blues-rock, pop-rock, and jazz...

, Jamelia
Jamelia
Jamelia Niela Davis , best known mononymously as Jamelia, is an English singer-songwriter, model, entertainer, television presenter and actress. She is most famous for her use of a cappella and prolific work in the R&B genre...

 and Fyfe Dangerfield
Fyfe Dangerfield
Fyfe Antony Dangerfield Hutchins is an English musician and songwriter, best known as the founding member of the indie rock band Guillemots.-Early life:...

 all grew up in the city.

Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 has a following in the city, with the Harmonic Festival, the Mostly Jazz Festival and the annual International Jazz Festival running alongside the year-round contemporary programme presented by promoters and development agency Birmingham Jazz, directed by Tony Dudley-Evans
Tony Dudley-Evans
Tony Dudley-Evans is a British linguist and expert in English for Specific Purposes. One of the most influential authors in the development of the modern notion of genre, he is usually grouped together with John Swales and Vijay Bhatia as the driving force behind recent developments in ESP...

. The musician-led Cobweb Collective also present regular jazz sessions in several venues around the city.

The internationally-renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is a British orchestra based in Birmingham, England. The Orchestra's current chief executive, appointed in 1999, is Stephen Maddock...

's home venue is Symphony Hall. There is a City Organist
Birmingham City Organist
Birmingham City Organist is an appointment made by the City of Birmingham. The purpose of the appointment is to have an organist for civic occasions and who will provide a series of free public organ recitals....

; since 1834 only seven men have held this position. The current holder, Thomas Trotter
Thomas Trotter
Thomas Trotter is a British concert organist. He is Birmingham City Organist and organist of St. Margaret's, Westminster and visiting Professor of Organ at the Royal College of Music, London....

, has been in post since 1983. Weekly recitals have been given since the organ in Birmingham Town Hall
Birmingham Town Hall
Birmingham Town Hall is a Grade I listed concert and meeting venue in Victoria Square, Birmingham, England. It was created as a home for the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival established in 1784, the purpose of which was to raise funds for the General Hospital, after St Philip's Church became...

 was opened.

The Birmingham Triennial Music Festival
Birmingham Triennial Music Festival
The Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival, in Birmingham, England, founded in 1784, was the longest-running classical music festival of its kind. Its last performance was in 1912.-History:...

s took place from 1784 to 1912. Music was specially composed, conducted or performed by Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

, Gounod
Charles Gounod
Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette.-Biography:...

, Sullivan
Arthur Sullivan
Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan MVO was an English composer of Irish and Italian ancestry. He is best known for his series of 14 operatic collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, including such enduring works as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado...

, Dvořák
Antonín Dvorák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

, Bantock
Granville Bantock
Sir Granville Bantock was a British composer of classical music.-Biography:Granville Ransome Bantock was born in London. His father was a Scottish doctor. He was intended by his parents for the Indian Civil Service but was drawn into the musical world. His first teacher was Dr Gordon Saunders at...

 and Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

, who wrote four of his most famous choral pieces for Birmingham. Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius
The Dream of Gerontius
The Dream of Gerontius, popularly called just Gerontius, is a work for voices and orchestra in two parts composed by Edward Elgar in 1900, to text from the poem by John Henry Newman. It relates the journey of a pious man's soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God and settling into Purgatory...

had its début performance there in 1900. Composers born in the city include Albert William Ketèlbey and Andrew Glover.

Birmingham's other city-centre music venues include The National Indoor Arena
National Indoor Arena
The National Indoor Arena is a large indoor arena and is owned by the NEC Group. It is situated in central Birmingham, England and was opened in 1991, as the largest indoor arena at the time in the UK...

, which was opened in 1991, 02 Academy on Bristol Street, which opened in September 2009 replacing the 02 Academy in Dale End, The CBSO Centre
CBSO Centre
The CBSO Centre is the administrative home and rehearsal centre of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Choruses , and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group on the corner of Berkley Street and Holliday Street, in Birmingham, England.It...

, opened in 1997, HMV Institute
Digbeth Institute
Digbeth Institute is a civic building in Digbeth, Birmingham, England.It is now operated as the hmv Institute, a 2,400 capacity music venue...

 in Digbeth and the Adrian Boult Hall
Adrian Boult Hall
The Adrian Boult Hall is the main concert hall of the Birmingham Conservatoire in central Birmingham, England. It is named after the conductor Adrian Boult....

 at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Theatre and performing arts


Birmingham's leading producing theatre is the Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Birmingham Repertory Theatre is a theatre and theatre company based on Centenary Square in Birmingham, England...

, which was founded by Barry Jackson in 1913 to "serve an art instead of making that art serve a commercial purpose". The Rep pioneered innovations such as the performance of Shakespeare in modern dress, and launched the careers of performers including Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

, Ralph Richardson
Ralph Richardson
Sir Ralph David Richardson was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, also appeared in several classic films....

, Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
Dame Peggy Ashcroft, DBE was an English actress.-Early years:Born as Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft in Croydon, Ashcroft attended the Woodford School, Croydon and the Central School of Speech and Drama...

, Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
David Paul Scofield, CH, CBE , better known as Paul Scofield, was an English actor of stage and screen...

 and Albert Finney
Albert Finney
Albert Finney is an English actor. He achieved prominence in films in the early 1960s, and has maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television....

. Other theatre companies in Birmingham include the experimental Stan's Cafe
Stan's Cafe
Stan's Cafe is a theatre company based in Birmingham in the UK. Established in 1991, it has become “one of Britain's major contemporary theatre exports” with an “international reputation”...

, the politically radical Banner Theatre
Banner theatre
Banner Theatre is a community theatre company based in Birmingham, England. The theatre was founded in 1974.-History:Founded in 1974, the theatre works with marginalized and disadvantaged communities using a combination of documentary theatre, music and recorded voices...

, the Birmingham Stage Company
Birmingham Stage Company
The Birmingham Stage Company is a theatre company resident at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham, England.It was founded by the Actor/Manager Neal Foster in 1992, with Sir Derek Jacobi and Paul Scofield CH as patrons...

 and the Maverick Theatre Company
Maverick Theatre Company
Maverick Theatre Company was launched in 1994 by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and founded by Robb Williams, local musician and Nick Hennegan, radio presenter with BRMB Radio. The company aimed to demystify theatre by presenting contemporary classics in informal spaces, mainly pubs...

. The Alexandra Theatre
Alexandra Theatre
The New Alexandra Theatre, commonly known as The Alex, is a theatre on Station Street in Birmingham, England.Construction of the theatre commenced in 1900 and was completed in 1901. The architects were Owen & Ward. The theatre was opened on 27 May 1901 as the Lyceum Theatre on John Bright Street;...

 and the Birmingham Hippodrome
Birmingham Hippodrome
The Birmingham Hippodrome is a theatre situated on Hurst Street in the Chinese Quarter of Birmingham, England.Although best known as the home stage of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, it also hosts a wide variety of other performances including visiting opera and ballet companies, touring West End...

 host large-scale touring productions, while professional drama is performed on a wide range of stages across the city, including the Old Rep
Old Rep
The Old Rep is a theatre located in Station Street in Birmingham, England, managed by Birmingham City Council.Construction began in October 1912 and it was opened on February 15, 1913 with a performance of Twelfth Night and then a reading by its founder, Barry Jackson, of a poem written by John...

, the Crescent Theatre
Crescent Theatre
The Crescent Theatre is a small, amateur theatre run mostly by volunteers, based in Sheepcote Street, Brindleyplace in Birmingham, England.It houses one of the oldest theatre companies in the city: The Crescent Theatre Company. The Crescent also plays host to numerous visiting companies every year,...

, the Custard Factory
Custard Factory
The Custard Factory is an arts and media production centre in Birmingham, England .Located on the redeveloped site of the Bird's Custard factory in the industrial district of Digbeth, it is home to a community of businesses, primarily with an artistic and media slant, but also including...

, the Old Joint Stock Theatre
Old Joint Stock Theatre
The Old Joint Stock Theatre is a pub theatre located at 4 Temple Row West in the centre of Birmingham, England.The theatre seats 80 in a flexible arrangement and is located on the first floor of the Old Joint Stock pub - a grade II listed building built as the Birmingham Joint Stock Bank by...

, the Blue Orange Theatre
Blue Orange Theatre
The Blue Orange Theatre is an independent theatre located in the Jewellery Quarter in the centre of Birmingham, England. It was founded by the local producer and director Mark Webster and opened in April 2011, aiming to showcase new drama and writing from the city.The main auditorium is a 107-seat...

, The Drum in Aston
Aston
Aston is an area of the City of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England. Lying to the north-east of the Birmingham city centre, Aston constitutes an electoral ward within the council constituency of Ladywood.-History:...

 and the mac
Mac (Birmingham)
mac is a non-profit arts centre situated in Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. It was established in 1962 and is registered as an educational charity which host plays, concerts and films shows; and holds art exhibitions, music classes, and workshops for all ages.The centre re-opened...

in Cannon Hill Park
Cannon Hill Park
Cannon Hill Park is a park located in south Birmingham, England. It is the most popular park in the city, covering consisting of formal, conservation, woodland and sports areas...

.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet is one of the three major ballet companies of the United Kingdom, alongside the Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet....

 is one of the United Kingdom's three major ballet companies
Ballet company
A ballet company is a group of dancers who perform ballet, plus managerial and support staff. Most major ballet companies employ dancers on a year-round basis, except in the United States, where contracts for part of the year are the norm...

, and the only one based outside London. It is resident at the Birmingham Hippodrome
Birmingham Hippodrome
The Birmingham Hippodrome is a theatre situated on Hurst Street in the Chinese Quarter of Birmingham, England.Although best known as the home stage of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, it also hosts a wide variety of other performances including visiting opera and ballet companies, touring West End...

 and tours extensively nationally and internationally. The company's associated ballet school – Elmhurst School for Dance
Elmhurst School for Dance
Elmhurst School for Dance is one of the foremost classical ballet schools in the United Kingdom and is the official associate school of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. First established in Camberley, Surrey, the school is the oldest established vocational dance school in the United Kingdom and...

 in Edgbaston
Edgbaston
Edgbaston is an area in the city of Birmingham in England. It is also a formal district, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Edgbaston ward and the wards of Bartley Green, Harborne and Quinton....

 – is the oldest vocational dance school in the country.

The Birmingham Opera Company
Birmingham Opera Company
Birmingham Opera Company is a professional opera company based in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, England, that specialises in innovative and avant-garde productions of the operatic repertoire, often in unusual venues....

 under artistic director Graham Vick
Graham Vick
Graham Vick CBE is an English opera director. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester....

 has developed an international reputation for its avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 productions, which often take place in factories, abandoned buildings and other found spaces around the city. In 2010 it was described by The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

as "far and away the most powerful example that I've experienced in this country of how and why opera can still matter." More conventional seasons by Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera is an opera company founded in Cardiff, Wales in 1943. The WNO tours Wales, the United Kingdom and the rest of the world extensively. Annually, it gives more than 120 performances of eight main stage operas to a combined audience of around 150,000 people...

 and other visiting opera companies take place regularly at the Birmingham Hippodrome
Birmingham Hippodrome
The Birmingham Hippodrome is a theatre situated on Hurst Street in the Chinese Quarter of Birmingham, England.Although best known as the home stage of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, it also hosts a wide variety of other performances including visiting opera and ballet companies, touring West End...

.

Literature


Literary figures associated with Birmingham include Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson , often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer...

 who stayed in Birmingham for a short period and was born in nearby Lichfield
Lichfield
Lichfield is a cathedral city, civil parish and district in Staffordshire, England. One of eight civil parishes with city status in England, Lichfield is situated roughly north of Birmingham...

. Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

 worked in the Aston area of Birmingham whilst poet Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice
Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis; nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco...

 lived in Birmingham for six years. American author Washington Irving
Washington Irving
Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works...

 produced several of his most famous literary works whilst staying in Birmingham such as Bracebridge Hall and The Humorists, A Medley which are based on Aston Hall.

The poet W. H. Auden
W. H. Auden
Wystan Hugh Auden , who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet,The first definition of "Anglo-American" in the OED is: "Of, belonging to, or involving both England and America." See also the definition "English in origin or birth, American by settlement or citizenship" in See also...

 grew up in the Harborne area of the city, and during the 1930s formed the core of the Auden Group
Auden Group
The Auden Group is the name given to a group of British and Irish writers active in the 1930s that included W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, Cecil Day-Lewis, Stephen Spender, Christopher Isherwood, and sometimes Edward Upward and Rex Warner...

 with Birmingham University lecturer Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice
Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis; nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco...

. Other influential poets associated with Birmingham include Roi Kwabena
Roi Kwabena
Dr. Roi Ankhkara Kwabena was a cultural anthropologist, who worked with all age ranges in Europe, Africa, Latin-America and the Caribbean for over 30 years....

, who was the city's sixth poet laureate, and Benjamin Zephaniah
Benjamin Zephaniah
Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is an English writer and dub poet. He is a well-known figure in contemporary English literature, and was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008....

, who was born in the city.

Author J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

 was brought up in Birmingham with many locations in the city such as Moseley bog, Sarehole Mill and Perrott's Folly
Perrott's Folly
Perrott's Folly, , also known as The Monument, or The Observatory, is a 29-metre tall tower, built in 1758. It is a Grade II* listed building in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England.-History:...

 supposedly being the inspiration for various scenes in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

. Other famous residents include the award winning political playwright David Edgar
David Edgar (playwright)
David Edgar is a British playwright and author who has had more than sixty of his plays published and performed on stage, radio and television around the world, making him one of the most prolific dramatists of the post-1960s generation in Great Britain.He was resident playwright at the Birmingham...

.

Birmingham has a vibrant contemporary literary scene, with local authors including David Lodge
David Lodge (author)
David John Lodge CBE, is an English author.In his novels, Lodge often satirises academia in general and the humanities in particular. He was brought up Catholic and has described himself as an "agnostic Catholic". Many of his characters are Catholic and their Catholicism is a major theme...

, Jim Crace
Jim Crace
James "Jim" Crace is a contemporary English writer. The winner of numerous awards, Crace also has a large popular following. He currently lives in the Moseley area of Birmingham with his wife...

, Jonathan Coe
Jonathan Coe
Jonathan Coe is an English novelist and writer. His work has an underlying preoccupation with political issues, although this serious engagement is often expressed comically in the form of satire. For example, What a Carve Up! reworks the plot of an old 1960s spoof horror film of the same name...

, Joel Lane
Joel Lane
Joel Lane is a British novelist, short story writer, poet, critic and anthology editor. He has twice received the British Fantasy Award.-Works:...

 and Judith Cutler
Judith Cutler
Judith Cutler is a writer of crime fiction whose novels are mostly in three series: ten in the series about amateur sleuth and lecturer Sophie Rivers; six about Detective Sergeant Kate Power; plus a forthcoming series with Caffy Tyler...

. The city's leading contemporary literary publisher is the Tindal Street Press
Tindal Street Press
Tindal Street Press is a Birmingham-based independent publisher of contemporary literary fiction, with a particular focus on writers born, or living, in Birmingham and the West Midlands...

, whose authors include prize-winning novelists Catherine O'Flynn
Catherine O'Flynn
Catherine O'Flynn, born in 1970, is a British writer. Her novel, What Was Lost, won the prestigious First Novel prize at the Costa Book Awards in 2008.-Biography:...

, Clare Morrall
Clare Morrall
Clare Morrall is an English novelist. Born in Exeter, she has lived mainly in Birmingham, where she worked for many years as a music teacher. She achieved sudden success with her first published novel, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, which reached the shortlist for the 2003 Booker Prize. Her...

 and Austin Clarke
Austin Clarke
Austin Ardinel Chesterfield Clarke, is a Canadian novelist, essayist and short story writer who lives in Toronto, Ontario. Born in St...

.

Birmingham is the home of the UK's longest-established local science fiction group
Birmingham Science Fiction Group
The Birmingham Science Fiction Group, , also known as the Brum Group, was founded in 1971 . It is non-profit-making, and runs regular meetings in Birmingham, England, where SF fans can meet one another and professionals in the field informally...

, launched in 1971 (although there were earlier incarnations in the 1940s and 1960s) and which organises the annual science fiction event Novacon
Novacon
Novacon is an annual science fiction convention, usually held each November in the West Midlands, UK. It is now the annual convention of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.-History:...

.

Art and design



The influence of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists
The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists or RBSA is a learned society of artists and an art gallery based in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, England. it is both a registered charity. and a registered company The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists or RBSA is a learned society of artists and an...

 and the Birmingham School of Art
Birmingham School of Art
The Birmingham School of Art was a municipal art school based in the centre of Birmingham, England. Although the organisation was absorbed by Birmingham Polytechnic in 1971 and is now part of Birmingham City University's Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, its Grade I listed building on...

 made Birmingham an important centre of Victorian art, particularly within the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 movements. Major figures included the watercolourist David Cox
David Cox (artist)
- David Cox Junior :David Cox had a son of the same name who followed his calling as a watercolour painter. He was born in Dulwich, but educated in Hereford. He exhibited in London from 1827, although today he is known mainly through association with his father. He died in Streatham on 4 December...

, whose later works make him an important precursor of impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

; the Pre-Raphaelite and symbolist Edward Burne-Jones
Edward Burne-Jones
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company...

; Walter Langley
Walter Langley
Walter Langley was an English painter and founder of the Newlyn School of plein air artists. He was born in Birmingham and his father was a journeyman tailor. At 15 he was apprenticed to a lithographer. At 21 he won a scholarship to South Kensington and he studied designing there for two years...

, the first of the Newlyn School
Newlyn School
The Newlyn School is a term used to describe an art colony of artists based in or near to Newlyn, a fishing village adjacent to Penzance, Cornwall, from the 1880s until the early 20th century. The establishment of the Newlyn School was reminiscent of the Barbizon School in France, where artists...

 painters; and Joseph Southall
Joseph Southall
Joseph Edward Southall RWS NEAC RBSA was an English painter associated with the Arts and Crafts movement.A leading figure in the nineteenth century revival of painting in tempera, Southall was the leader of the Birmingham Group of Artist-Craftsmen—one of the last outposts of Romanticism in...

, leader of the group of artists and craftsmen known as the Birmingham Group.

The Birmingham Surrealists
Birmingham Surrealists
The Birmingham Surrealists were an informal grouping of artists and intellectuals associated with the Surrealist movement in art, based in Birmingham, England from the 1930s to the 1950s....

 were among the "harbingers of surrealism" in Britain in the 1930s and the movement's most active members in the 1940s, while more abstract artists associated with the city included Lee Bank
Lee Bank
Lee Bank is an inner city area of Birmingham, England. It is part of the Edgbaston and Ladywood wards, inside the Middle Ring Road, near to the centre of Birmingham...

-born David Bomberg
David Bomberg
David Garshen Bomberg was an English painter, and one of the Whitechapel Boys.Bomberg was one of the most audacious of the exceptional generation of artists who studied at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks, and which included Mark Gertler, Stanley Spencer, C.R.W. Nevinson and Dora Carrington...

 and CoBrA
Cobra
Cobra is a venomous snake belonging to the family Elapidae. However, not all snakes commonly referred to as cobras are of the same genus, or even of the same family. The name is short for cobra capo or capa Snake, which is Portuguese for "snake with hood", or "hood-snake"...

 member William Gear
William Gear
William Gear was a painter, born on 2 August 1915 in Methil in the south-east of Fife, Scotland. Born into a mining family, he studied at Edinburgh College of Art before travelling to Paris to study with Fernand Léger....

. Birmingham artists were prominent in several post-war developments in art: Peter Phillips
Peter Phillips (artist)
You also may be looking for Pete Rock.Peter Phillips is an English artist who is one of the pioneers of the Pop Art movement...

 was among the central figures in the birth of Pop Art
Pop art
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art...

; John Salt
John Salt
John Salt is an English artist, whose obsessively detailed paintings from the late 1960s onwards made him one of the pioneers of the photorealist school....

 was the only major European figure among the pioneers of photo-realism; and the BLK Art Group
BLK Art Group
The BLK Art Group was the name chosen in 1982 by a group of four influential conceptual artists, painters, sculptors and installation artists based in the United Kingdom...

 used painting, collage and multimedia to examine the politics and culture of Black British
Black British
Black British is a term used to describe British people of Black African descent, especially those of Afro-Caribbean background. The term has been used from the 1950s to refer to Black people from former British colonies in the West Indies and Africa, who are residents of the United Kingdom and...

 identity. Contemporary artists from the city include the Turner Prize
Turner Prize
The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50. Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised...

 winner Gillian Wearing
Gillian Wearing
Gillian Wearing OBE RA is an English conceptual artist, one of the YBAs, and winner of the annual British fine arts award, The Turner Prize, in 1997. On 11 December 2007, Wearing was elected as lifetime member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London....

 and the Turner Prize shortlisted Richard Billingham
Richard Billingham
Richard Billingham is an English photographer and artist who is best known for his photobook Ray's A Laugh which documents the life of his alcoholic father Ray, and obese, heavily-tattooed mother, Liz.-Career:...

 and John Walker
John Walker (painter)
John Walker is an English painter and printmaker.Walker studied in Birmingham. Some of his early work was inspired by abstract expressionism and post-painterly abstraction, and often combined apparently three-dimensional shapes with "flatter" elements...

.

Birmingham's role as a manufacturing and printing centre has supported strong local traditions of graphic design
Graphic design
Graphic design is a creative process – most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form – undertaken in order to convey a specific message to a targeted audience...

 and product design
Product design
-Introduction:Product design is the process of creating a new product to be sold by a business or enterprise to its customers. It is concerned with the efficient and effective generation and development of ideas through a process that leads to new products.Product designers conceptualize and...

. Iconic works by Birmingham designers include the Baskerville
Baskerville
Baskerville is a transitional serif typeface designed in 1757 by John Baskerville in Birmingham, England. Baskerville is classified as a transitional typeface, positioned between the old style typefaces of William Caslon, and the modern styles of Giambattista Bodoni and Firmin Didot.The...

 font, Ruskin Pottery
Ruskin Pottery
The Ruskin Pottery was an English pottery studio founded in 1898 by Edward R. Taylor, the first Principal of Birmingham School of Art, to be run by his son, William Howson Taylor, formerly a student there. It was named after the artist, writer and social thinker John Ruskin, as the Taylors agreed...

, the Acme Thunderer whistle, the Art Deco branding of the Odeon Cinemas
Odeon Cinemas
Odeon Cinemas is a British chain of cinemas, one of the largest in Europe. It is owned by Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group whose ultimate parent is Terra Firma Capital Partners.-History:Odeon Cinemas was created in 1928 by Oscar Deutsch...

 and the Mini
Mini
The Mini is a small car that was made by the British Motor Corporation and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout influenced a generation of car-makers...

.

Museums and galleries


Birmingham has two major public art collections. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a museum and art gallery in Birmingham, England.Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free, but some major exhibitions in the Gas Hall incur an entrance fee...

 is best known for its works by the Pre-Raphaelites, a collection "of outstanding importance". It also holds a significant selection of old master
Old Master
"Old Master" is a term for a European painter of skill who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print made by an artist in the same period...

s – including major works by Bellini
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

, Rubens, Canaletto
Canaletto
Giovanni Antonio Canal better known as Canaletto , was a Venetian painter famous for his landscapes, or vedute, of Venice. He was also an important printmaker in etching.- Early career :...

 and Claude
Claude Lorrain
Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English (also Claude Gellée, his real name, or in French Claude Gellée, , dit le Lorrain) Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English (also Claude Gellée, his real name, or in French...

 – and particularly strong collections of seventeenth century Italian Baroque painting
Italian Baroque art
Italian Baroque art is a term that is used here to refer to Italian painting and sculpture in the Baroque manner executed over a period that extended from the late sixteenth to the mid eighteenth centuries.-Historical background:...

 and English watercolours. Its design holdings include Europe's pre-eminent collections of ceramics and fine metalwork. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Barber Institute of Fine Arts
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is an art gallery and concert hall in Birmingham, England. It is situated in purpose-built premises on the campus of the University of Birmingham....

 in Edgbaston
Edgbaston
Edgbaston is an area in the city of Birmingham in England. It is also a formal district, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Edgbaston ward and the wards of Bartley Green, Harborne and Quinton....

 is one of the finest small art galleries in the world, with a collection of exceptional quality representing Western art
Western art history
Western art is the art of the North American and European countries, and art created in the forms accepted by those countries.Written histories of Western art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Aegean civilisations, dating from the 3rd millennium BC...

 from the thirteenth century to the present day.

The council also owns other museums in the city such as Aston Hall
Aston Hall
Aston Hall is a municipally owned Jacobean-style mansion in Aston, Birmingham, England. Washington Irving used it as the model for Bracebridge Hall in his stories in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon.-History:...

, Blakesley Hall
Blakesley Hall
Blakesley Hall is a Tudor hall on Blakesley Road in Yardley, Birmingham, England. It is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham and is a typical example of Tudor architecture with the use of darkened timber and wattle-and-daub infill, with an external lime render which is painted white...

, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is a museum at 75-79 Vyse Street in Hockley, Birmingham, England. It is a Community Museum, that is branch museum, of the Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery...

, Soho House
Soho House
Soho House , Matthew Boulton's home in Handsworth, Birmingham, England, is now a museum , celebrating his life, his partnership with James Watt and his membership of the Lunar Society of Birmingham. It was designed by Samuel Wyatt and work on the current building began in 1789...

, and Sarehole Mill
Sarehole Mill
Sarehole Mill is a Grade II listed water mill on the River Cole in Hall Green, Birmingham, England. It is now run as a museum by the Birmingham City Council. It is one of only two working water mills in Birmingham, with the other being New Hall Mill in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield.Built in 1542 on...

, a popular attraction for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

. The Birmingham Back to Backs
Birmingham Back to Backs
The Birmingham Back to Backs at 50–54 Inge Street and 55–63 Hurst Street are the last surviving court of back-to-back houses in Birmingham, England, now operated as a museum by the National Trust....

 are the last surviving court of back-to-back houses in the city. Cadbury World is a museum showing visitors the stages and steps of chocolate production and the history of chocolate
History of Chocolate
The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. Chocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao, can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 BCE....

 and the company
Cadbury Schweppes
Cadbury is a confectionery company owned by Kraft Foods and is the industry's second-largest globally after Mars, Incorporated. Headquartered in Uxbridge, London, United Kingdom, the company operates in more than 50 countries worldwide....

. The Ikon Gallery
Ikon Gallery
The Ikon Gallery is an English gallery of contemporary art, located in Brindleyplace, Birmingham. It is housed in the Grade II listed, neo-gothic former Oozells Street Board School, designed by John Henry Chamberlain in 1877. The gallery's current director is Jonathan Watkins.Ikon was set up to...

 hosts displays of contemporary art, as does Eastside Projects
Eastside Projects
Eastside Projects is an artist-run space as public gallery in Digbeth, Birmingham, England.Eastside Projects was conceived by artist-curator Gavin Wade and is organised by a founding collective comprising Simon and Tom Bloor, Céline Condorelli, Ruth Claxton and James Langdon...

.

Thinktank
Thinktank, Birmingham
Thinktank is a science museum in Birmingham, England. Opened in 2001, it succeeded and has several exhibits from the City's Museum of Science and Industry. It is part of the Millennium Point complex.-Building:...

 is Birmingham's main science museum
Science museum
A science museum or a science centre is a museum devoted primarily to science. Older science museums tended to concentrate on static displays of objects related to natural history, paleontology, geology, industry and industrial machinery, etc. Modern trends in museology have broadened the range of...

, with an IMAX
IMAX
IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

 cinema, a planetarium
Planetarium
A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation...

 and a collection that includes the Smethwick Engine
Smethwick Engine
The Smethwick Engine is a steam engine made by Boulton and Watt; brought into service in May 1779.Originally, it was one of two engines used to pump water back up to the summit level of the BCN Old Main Line canal at Smethwick, not far from the Soho Foundry where it was made...

, the world's oldest working steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

. Other science-based museums include the National Sea Life Centre
National Sea Life Centre (Birmingham)
The National Sea Life Centre is an aquarium with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life in Brindleyplace, Birmingham, England. Its one-million-litre ocean tank houses giant green sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks and tropical reef fish, with a fully transparent underwater tunnel. The...

 in Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace is a large mixed-use canalside development, in the Westside district of Birmingham, England. It is often written erroneously as Brindley Place, the name of the street around which it is built...

, the Lapworth Museum of Geology
Lapworth Museum of Geology
The Lapworth Museum of Geology is a major geological museum run by the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England.The museum is located within the Grade II listed, Aston Webb Building, which retains the original Edwardian features. The museum has a history which dates back 1880...

 at the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

 and the Centre of the Earth
Centre of the Earth
The Centre of the Earth is a purpose-built environmental education centre in Birmingham, England, run by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.-Location:...

 environmental education centre in Winson Green
Winson Green
Winson Green is a loosely-defined inner-city area in the west of the city of Birmingham, England. It is part of the ward of Soho.It is the location of HM Prison Birmingham and City Hospital .The area has a very multi-racial population, with large Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities.R&B singer...

.

Nightlife and festivals


Nightlife in Birmingham is mainly concentrated along Broad Street
Broad Street, Birmingham
Broad Street is a major thoroughfare and popular nightspot in Birmingham City Centre, United Kingdom. Traditionally, Broad Street was considered to be outside Birmingham City Centre, but as the city centre expanded with the removal of the Inner Ring Road, Broad Street has been incorporated into...

 and into Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace is a large mixed-use canalside development, in the Westside district of Birmingham, England. It is often written erroneously as Brindley Place, the name of the street around which it is built...

. Outside the Broad Street area are many stylish and underground venues. The Medicine Bar
Medicine Bar
The Medicine Bar in Birmingham, England started as a collaboration in the 1990s between the London Medicine bar and local hip hop DJ 'Simon Fat Head', who began his career at the legendary 'Brothers and Sisters' at the 'Coast to Coast' club on Broad Street....

 in the Custard Factory
Custard Factory
The Custard Factory is an arts and media production centre in Birmingham, England .Located on the redeveloped site of the Bird's Custard factory in the industrial district of Digbeth, it is home to a community of businesses, primarily with an artistic and media slant, but also including...

, hmv Institute
Digbeth Institute
Digbeth Institute is a civic building in Digbeth, Birmingham, England.It is now operated as the hmv Institute, a 2,400 capacity music venue...

, Rainbow Pub and Air are large clubs and bars in Digbeth
Digbeth
Digbeth is an area of Birmingham, England. Following the destruction of the Inner Ring Road, Digbeth is now considered a district within Birmingham City Centre. As part of the Big City Plan, Digbeth is undergoing a large redevelopment scheme that will regenerate the old industrial buildings into...

. In the Chinese Quarter are areas such as the Arcadian and Hurst Street Gay Village, that abound with bars and clubs. Summer Row, The Mailbox
The Mailbox
The Mailbox is an upmarket development of offices, designer shops, restaurants, bars and luxury city-centre apartments in the City Centre and on the boundary of the City Centre Core in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. It includes a mini supermarket and three art galleries: the Artlounge, Castle...

, O2 Academy in Bristol Street, St Philips/Colmore Row, St Paul's Square and the Jewellery Quarter
Jewellery Quarter
The Jewellery Quarter is an area of Birmingham City Centre, England, situated in the south of the Hockley area. It is covered by the Ladywood district. There is a population of around 3,000 people in a area....

 all have a vibrant night life. There are a number of late night pubs in the Irish Quarter. Outside the city centre are Moseley
Moseley
Moseley is a suburb of Birmingham, England, two miles south of the city centre. The area is a popular cosmopolitan residential location and leisure destination, with a number of bars and restaurants...

 and Star City
Star City, Birmingham
Star City is a family leisure and entertainment complex in Birmingham, England. It is located in the north east of the city very close to Junction 6 of the M6 motorway , and Aston Train Station.- Development :...

 entertainment complex on the former site of Nechells
Nechells
Nechells is an area in inner-city Birmingham, England, with a population of 27,969 . It is also a ward within the formal district of Ladywood. Nechells local government ward includes areas, for example parts of Birmingham city centre, which are not part of the historic district of Nechells as such...

 Power Station.

Birmingham is home to many national, religious and spiritual festivals including a St. George's Day
Saint George
Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

 party. The Birmingham Tattoo
Birmingham Tattoo
The Birmingham Tattoo is held annually at the National Indoor Arena in the centre of Birmingham, England. The military tattoo features massed military bands, and spectacular displays. The event takes place for two weekend performances in November or December...

 is a long-standing military show held annually at the National Indoor Arena. The Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

-style Birmingham International Carnival
Birmingham International Carnival
Birmingham International Carnival takes place biennially in August in Birmingham, England. It is a celebration of African-Caribbean culture, arts, food and entertainment.Caribbean style carnivals were held in Handsworth Park, Birmingham, from 1984 to 1994...

 takes place in odd numbered years. Birmingham Pride
Birmingham Pride
Birmingham Pride is a weekend-long gay and lesbian festival held annually in the Gay Village, Hurst Street, Birmingham, England, over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend....

 takes place in the gay village and attracts up to 100,000 visitors each year. From 1997, the city hosted an annual arts festival ArtsFest
ArtsFest
ArtsFest is an annual arts festival held in September in Birmingham, England.Since 1997 ArtsFest has brought together free short demonstrations of dance, music, film and theatre to concert halls, theatres, and open-air stages in various parts of central Birmingham...

, the largest free arts festival in the UK. In December 2006, the City Council announced that it would no longer hold Artsfest. The city's largest single-day event is its St. Patrick's Day parade (Europe's second largest, after Dublin). Other multicultural events include the Bangla Mela and the Vaisakhi Mela. The Birmingham Heritage Festival is a Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras
The terms "Mardi Gras" , "Mardi Gras season", and "Carnival season", in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday...

 style event in August. Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and African culture are celebrated with parade
Parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

s and street performances by buskers
Busking
Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles...

.

Other festivals in the city include Moseley Folk Festival (since 2006), which takes place in Moseley private park and mixes new with established folk acts, the Birmingham International Jazz Festival, Birmingham Comedy Festival (since 2001), which has been headlined by such acts as Peter Kay
Peter Kay
Peter John Kay is an English comedian, writer, actor, director and producer. His work includes That Peter Kay Thing , Phoenix Nights , Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere , Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and other independent productions which have included two sell out tours.-Early career:Peter Kay...

, The Fast Show
The Fast Show
The Fast Show, known as Brilliant in the US, was a BBC comedy sketch show programme that ran for three series from 1994 to 1997 with a special Last Fast Show Ever in 2000. The show's central performers were Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and...

, Jimmy Carr
Jimmy Carr
James Anthony Patrick "Jimmy" Carr is an English-Irish comedian and humourist. He is known for his deadpan delivery and dark humour. He is also a writer, actor and presenter of radio and television....

, Lee Evans
Lee Evans (comedian)
Lee Evans is an English comedian, writer, actor and musician.-Personal life:Lee Evans was born in Avonmouth, Bristol, England to an Irish mother and a Welsh father, Dave Evans, a nightclub performer. He left Bristol at the age of 13 and then went to The Billericay School in Billericay, Essex...

 and Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry
Lenworth George "Lenny" Henry, is a British actor, writer, comedian and occasional television presenter.- Early life :...

 and Off The Cuff Festival established in 2009. The biennial International Dance Festival Birmingham started in 2008, organised by DanceXchange and involving indoor and outdoor venues across the city. During the Christmas seaon Birmingham is also host to the Frankfurt Christmas Market, held annually since 2001. Modelled on its German counterpart it has become the UK’s largest outdoor Christmas market
Christmas Market
A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent...

, and is the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria, attracting over 2.8 million visitors in 2009, and 3.1 million the following year proving its popularity.

Architecture



Birmingham is chiefly a product of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries; its growth began during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

. Consequently, relatively few buildings survive from its earlier history, and those that do are protected. There are 1,946 listed buildings in Birmingham and thirteen scheduled ancient monument
Scheduled Ancient Monument
In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorized change. The various pieces of legislation used for legally protecting heritage assets from damage and destruction are grouped under the term...

s. Birmingham City Council also operate a locally listing scheme for buildings that do not fully meet the criteria for statutorily listed status.

Traces of medieval Birmingham can be seen in the oldest churches, notably the original parish church
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

, St Martin in the Bull Ring
St Martin in the Bull Ring
The church of St Martin in the Bull Ring in Birmingham 5, England is a parish church in the Church of England.-Background:It is the original parish church of Birmingham. It stands between the Bull Ring shopping centre and the markets. The church is a Grade II* listed building. The current Rector...

. A few other buildings from the medieval and Tudor periods
Tudor architecture
The Tudor architectural style is the final development of medieval architecture during the Tudor period and even beyond, for conservative college patrons...

 survive, among them the Lad in the Lane
Lad in the Lane
The Lad in the Lane is a public house located in the Bromford area of Erdington in Birmingham, England. Dating to the year 1400, it is considered to be the oldest house and pub in the city, although The Old Crown in Digbeth claims to date from 1368, a date which is yet to be confirmed...

and The Old Crown
The Old Crown, Birmingham
The Old Crown a pub in Deritend, is the oldest extant secular building in Birmingham, England. It is Grade II* listed, and claims to date back to circa 1368, retaining its "black and white" timber frame, although almost all of the present building dates from the early 16th century.-History:It is...

, the 15th century Saracen's Head
Saracen's Head
The Saracen's Head is the name usually given to a group of late medieval buildings in Kings Norton, Birmingham. The buildings, together with the nearby Old Grammar School, won the BBC Restoration series in 2004...

public house and Old Grammar School in Kings Norton
Kings Norton
Kings Norton is an area of Birmingham, England. It is also a Birmingham City Council ward within the formal district of Northfield.-History:...

 and Blakesley Hall
Blakesley Hall
Blakesley Hall is a Tudor hall on Blakesley Road in Yardley, Birmingham, England. It is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham and is a typical example of Tudor architecture with the use of darkened timber and wattle-and-daub infill, with an external lime render which is painted white...

.

A number of Georgian
Georgian era
The Georgian era is a period of British history which takes its name from, and is normally defined as spanning the reigns of, the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain : George I, George II, George III and George IV...

 buildings survive, including St Philip's Cathedral
St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham
The Cathedral Church of Saint Philip is the Church of England cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of Birmingham. Built as a parish church and consecrated in 1715, St Philip's became the cathedral of the newly formed Diocese of Birmingham in the West Midlands in 1905...

, Soho House
Soho House
Soho House , Matthew Boulton's home in Handsworth, Birmingham, England, is now a museum , celebrating his life, his partnership with James Watt and his membership of the Lunar Society of Birmingham. It was designed by Samuel Wyatt and work on the current building began in 1789...

, Perrott's Folly
Perrott's Folly
Perrott's Folly, , also known as The Monument, or The Observatory, is a 29-metre tall tower, built in 1758. It is a Grade II* listed building in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England.-History:...

, the Town Hall
Birmingham Town Hall
Birmingham Town Hall is a Grade I listed concert and meeting venue in Victoria Square, Birmingham, England. It was created as a home for the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival established in 1784, the purpose of which was to raise funds for the General Hospital, after St Philip's Church became...

 and much of St Paul's Square
St Paul's Square, Birmingham
St Paul’s Square, is a Georgian square in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, England, named after the church in its centre. It is the last remaining Georgian Square in the city....

. The Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 saw extensive building across the city. Major civic buildings such as the Victoria Law Courts
Victoria Law Courts, Birmingham
The Victoria Law Courts on Corporation Street, Birmingham 4, England is a Grade I listed, red brick and terracotta building that now houses Birmingham Magistrates' Court.-History:...

 (in characteristic red brick and terracotta), the Council House and the Museum & Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a museum and art gallery in Birmingham, England.Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free, but some major exhibitions in the Gas Hall incur an entrance fee...

 were constructed. St Chad's Cathedral was the first Roman Catholic cathedral to be built in the UK since the Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

. Across the city, the need to house the industrial workers gave rise to miles of redbrick streets and terraces, many of back-to-back houses
Back-to-back houses
Usually of low quality and high density, they were built for working class people and because three of the four walls of the house were shared with other buildings and therefore contained no doors or windows, back-to-back houses were notoriously ill-lit and poorly ventilated and sanitation was of...

, some of which were later to become inner-city slum
Slum
A slum, as defined by United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the...

s.

Postwar redevelopment and anti-Victorianism resulted in the loss of dozens of Victorian buildings like Birmingham New Street Station
Birmingham New Street Station
Birmingham New Street is the main railway station serving Birmingham, England, located in the city centre. It is an important hub for the British railway system, being served by a number of important long-distance and cross-country lines, including the Birmingham loop of the West Coast Main Line,...

, and the old Central Library. In inner-city areas too, much Victorian housing was redeveloped
Urban renewal
Urban renewal is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Renewal has had both successes and failures. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of...

. Existing communities were relocated to tower block
Tower block
A tower block, high-rise, apartment tower, office tower, apartment block, or block of flats, is a tall building or structure used as a residential and/or office building...

 estates
Housing estate
A housing estate is a group of buildings built together as a single development. The exact form may vary from country to country. Accordingly, a housing estate is usually built by a single contractor, with only a few styles of house or building design, so they tend to be uniform in appearance...

 like Castle Vale
Castle Vale
Castle Vale is a housing estate located near Erdington currently Castle Vale votes with Tyburn Ward which is part of Erdington constituency, northeast of Birmingham city centre in England...

.

Birmingham City Council now has an extensive tower block demolition and renovation programme. There has been much construction in the city centre in recent years, including the award-winning Future Systems
Future Systems
Future Systems was a London-based architectural and design practice, formerly headed by Directors Jan Kaplický and Amanda Levete.Future Systems was founded by Kaplický after working with Denys Lasdun, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, and Richard Rogers...

' Selfridges
Selfridges
Selfridges, AKA Selfridges & Co, is a chain of high end department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK and was opened on 15 March 1909.More recently, three other stores have been...

 building in the Bullring Shopping Centre, the Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace is a large mixed-use canalside development, in the Westside district of Birmingham, England. It is often written erroneously as Brindley Place, the name of the street around which it is built...

 regeneration project and the Millennium Point science and technology centre. Funding for many of these projects has come from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

; the Town Hall for example received £3 million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund
European Regional Development Fund
The European Regional Development Fund is a fund allocated by the European Union.-History:During the 1960s, the European Commission occasionally tried to establish a regional fund. Only Italy ever supported this, however, and nothing came of it. Britain made it an issue for their accession in...

.

Highrise development has slowed since the 1970s and mainly in recent years because of enforcements imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority on the heights of buildings as they could affect aircraft from the Airport (e.g. Beetham Tower).

Transport


Partly because of its inland central location, Birmingham is a major transport hub on the motorway, rail, and canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 networks. The city is served by a number of major motorways and probably the best known motorway junction in the UK: Spaghetti Junction
Gravelly Hill Interchange
Gravelly Hill Interchange, better known by its nickname Spaghetti Junction, is junction 6 of the M6 motorway where it meets the A38 Aston Expressway in Birmingham, England.- Overview :...

.

The National Express Group
National Express Group
National Express Group plc is a British transport group headquartered in Birmingham that operates bus, coach, rail and tram services in the UK, the US and Canada, Spain, Portugal and Morocco and long-distance coach routes across Europe...

 headquarters are located in Digbeth
Digbeth
Digbeth is an area of Birmingham, England. Following the destruction of the Inner Ring Road, Digbeth is now considered a district within Birmingham City Centre. As part of the Big City Plan, Digbeth is undergoing a large redevelopment scheme that will regenerate the old industrial buildings into...

, in offices above the newly developed Birmingham Coach Station, which forms the national hub of the company's coach network.

Birmingham Airport, located six miles east of the city centre in the neighbouring borough of Solihull
Metropolitan Borough of Solihull
The Metropolitan Borough of Solihull is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands, in west-central England. It is named after its largest town, Solihull, from which Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council is based. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary...

, is the sixth busiest
Busiest airports in the United Kingdom by total passenger traffic
The tables below contain CAA data from 2006 to 2009, on the busiest airports in the United Kingdom by total passenger traffic, including information on international, domestic and transit counterparts...

 by passenger traffic in the United Kingdom, and the second busiest outside the London area. It is a major base for airlines including Flybe
Flybe
Flybe Group PLC is a British low-cost regional airline headquartered at the Jack Walker House at Exeter International Airport in Devon, England...

, Ryanair
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

, Bmibaby
Bmibaby
Bmibaby Limited is a small British low-cost airline and a subsidiary of British Midland International. It flies to destinations in the UK and Europe from its bases at Belfast-City, Birmingham and East Midlands airports....

, Monarch Airlines
Monarch Airlines
Monarch Airlines, often shortened to and trading as Monarch, is a British charter and scheduled airline based at London Luton Airport in Luton. It is one of the United Kingdom's largest charter airlines, operating to Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, India and Africa, serving mainly leisure...

 and Thomson Airways
Thomson Airways
Thomson Airways is the world's largest charter airline, offering scheduled and charter flights from the UK to destinations across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. The company commenced operations on 1 November 2008, following the merger and subsequent re-branding of Thomsonfly and First...

; and is connected by flag carrier
Flag carrier
A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given country, enjoys preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations. It may be a state-run, state-owned or private but...

 airlines to major international hubs
Airline hub
An airline hub is an airport that an airline uses as a transfer point to get passengers to their intended destination. It is part of a hub and spoke model, where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes en route to their destinations...

 including Dubai
Dubai International Airport
Dubai International Airport is an international airport serving Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab Emirates. It is a major aviation hub in the Middle East, and is the main airport of Dubai. It is situated in the Al Garhoud district, southeast of Dubai...

, New York-Newark
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

, Frankfurt
Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport may refer to:Airports of Frankfurt, Germany:*Frankfurt Airport , the largest airport in Germany*Frankfurt Egelsbach Airport, a general aviation airport*Frankfurt-Hahn Airport , a converted U.S...

, Munich Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam.


Local public transport is by bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

, local train and tram. Bus routes are mainly operated by National Express West Midlands
National Express West Midlands
National Express West Midlands , formerly known as Travel West Midlands , is the trade name of West Midlands Travel Ltd , a company which operates bus services from depots in the cities of Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, as well as the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall in the West...

, which accounts for over 80% of all bus journeys in Birmingham, however, there are around 50 other, smaller registered bus companies. The number 11 outer circle bus routes are the longest urban bus routes in Europe, being 26 miles (41.8 km) long with 272 bus stops.

The city's main railway station, Birmingham New Street, is the busiest in the United Kingdom outside London, used by over 40.1 million people annually. Birmingham Snow Hill station
Birmingham Snow Hill station
Birmingham Snow Hill is a railway station and tram stop in the centre of Birmingham, England, on the site of an earlier, much larger station built by the former Great Western Railway . It is the second most important railway station in the city, after Birmingham New Street station...

, another major railway station in the city centre, is also the terminus for the Midland Metro
Midland Metro
The Midland Metro is a light-rail or tram line in the West Midlands of England between the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton via West Bromwich and Wednesbury. It is owned and promoted by Centro, and operated by West Midlands Travel Limited, a subsidiary of the National Express Group , under...

 which operates between the station and Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

, also serving the nearby towns of Bilston
Bilston
Bilston is a town in the English county of West Midlands, situated in the southeastern corner of the City of Wolverhampton. Three wards of Wolverhampton City Council cover the town: Bilston East and Bilston North, which almost entirely comprise parts of the historic Borough of Bilston, and...

, Wednesbury
Wednesbury
Wednesbury is a market town in England's Black Country, part of the Sandwell metropolitan borough in West Midlands, near the source of the River Tame. Similarly to the word Wednesday, it is pronounced .-Pre-Medieval and Medieval times:...

 and West Bromwich
West Bromwich
West Bromwich is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands, England. It is north west of Birmingham lying on the A41 London-to-Birkenhead road. West Bromwich is part of the Black Country...

. Another city centre station, Birmingham Moor Street (its terminal platforms having been restored) became (5 September 2011) the city's third main line station, with express trains to London Marylebone (Chiltern Railways). There are plans to extend the Midland Metro route further into Birmingham city centre. Birmingham has a large rail-based park and ride network that feeds the city centre.

Birmingham is also notable for its extensive canal system, and the city is often noted for having more miles of canal than Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

. The canals fed the industry in the city during the Industrial Revolution. Canalside regeneration schemes such as Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace is a large mixed-use canalside development, in the Westside district of Birmingham, England. It is often written erroneously as Brindley Place, the name of the street around which it is built...

 have turned the canals into tourist attractions.

Tertiary education


Birmingham is home to three universities: the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

, Aston University
Aston University
Aston University is a "plate glass" campus university situated at Gosta Green, in the city centre of Birmingham, England.Established in 1895 as the Birmingham Municipal Technical School, Aston was granted its Royal Charter as Aston University on 22 April 1966...

 and Birmingham City University
Birmingham City University
Birmingham City University is a British university in the city of Birmingham, England. It is the second largest of three universities in the city, the other two being the Aston University and University of Birmingham...

; and two university college
University college
The term "university college" is used in a number of countries to denote college institutions that provide tertiary education but do not have full or independent university status. A university college is often part of a larger university...

s: Newman University College
Newman University College
Newman University College is a university college offering academic degrees and teacher training in Birmingham, England.Known as Newman College of Higher Education until January 2008, it has the highest employment of graduates rate of UK universities and is in the top 25% of UK universities for...

 and University College Birmingham. The Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham School of Acting
Birmingham School of Acting
Birmingham School of Acting is a drama school located in Birmingham, England....

 and Birmingham Institute of Art and Design
Birmingham Institute of Art and Design
The Birmingham Institute of Art and Design is the largest British university art and design teaching and research centre outside London. It is a faculty of Birmingham City University and the largest, most successful department of the university.-History:BIAD dates back, in various incarnations, to...

, all now part of Birmingham City University, offer higher education in specific arts subjects. The range of universities and colleges means that there are over 65,000 higher education students in Birmingham, making it the UK's second largest student city to London.

The Birmingham Business School
Birmingham Business School
Birmingham Business School is the business school of the University of Birmingham in England, located in University House, a former hall of residence in Edgbaston which has been extensively refurbished and expanded to provide state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities.Originally established...

, established by Sir William Ashley in 1902, is the oldest graduate-level business school
Business school
A business school is a university-level institution that confers degrees in Business Administration. It teaches topics such as accounting, administration, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems, marketing, organizational behavior, public relations, strategy, human resource...

 in the United Kingdom. Other business schools in the city include Aston Business School
Aston Business School
Aston Business School is the business school of Aston University in Birmingham, England. Founded in 1967 it offered its first MBA programme in 1968. In 2006 it opened a new £22m extension including new study rooms and two new lecture theatres....

 and Birmingham City Business School. The College of Law
The College of Law
The College of Law of England and Wales is a private educational institution in England and a registered charity which provides legal education for students and professionals.-20th century:...

, the largest providor of vocational legal training in Europe, maintains a large campus in the Jewellery Quarter
Jewellery Quarter
The Jewellery Quarter is an area of Birmingham City Centre, England, situated in the south of the Hockley area. It is covered by the Ladywood district. There is a population of around 3,000 people in a area....

.

Birmingham is also an important centre for religious education. St Mary's College, Oscott is one of the four seminaries of the Catholic Church in England and Wales; Woodbrooke
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre is a Quaker college based in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham, England.The only Quaker Study Centre in Europe, it was founded by George Cadbury in 1903 and occupies his former home on the Bristol Road. Woodbrooke's first Director of Studies was the biblical scholar J...

 is the only Quaker study centre in Europe; and Queen's College is an ecumenical theological college serving the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church
United Reformed Church
The United Reformed Church is a Christian church in the United Kingdom. It has approximately 68,000 members in 1,500 congregations with some 700 ministers.-Origins and history:...

.

Birmingham Metropolitan College
Birmingham Metropolitan College
Birmingham Metropolitan College is a further and higher education college with eight campuses distributed within Birmingham, England. The college was created in August 2009 as a result of the amalgamation of Matthew Boulton College and Sutton Coldfield College...

 is one of the largest further education colleges in the country, formed through a series of mergers between smaller colleges.

Primary and secondary education


Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council
The Birmingham City Council is the body responsible for the governance of the City of Birmingham in England, which has been a metropolitan district since 1974. It is the most populated local authority in the United Kingdom with, following a reorganisation of boundaries in June 2004, 120 Birmingham...

 is England's largest local education authority
Local Education Authority
A local education authority is a local authority in England and Wales that has responsibility for education within its jurisdiction...

, directly or indirectly responsible for 25 nursery schools, 328 primary schools, 77 secondary schools and 29 special schools. and providing around 3,500 adult education
Adult education
Adult education is the practice of teaching and educating adults. Adult education takes place in the workplace, through 'extension' school or 'school of continuing education' . Other learning places include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers...

 courses throughout the year.

Most of Birmingham's state schools are community school
Community school
The term "community school" refers to types of publicly funded school in England, Wales, the Republic of Ireland, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to a school that serves as both an educational institution and a centre of community life. A community school is both a place and a...

s run directly by Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council
The Birmingham City Council is the body responsible for the governance of the City of Birmingham in England, which has been a metropolitan district since 1974. It is the most populated local authority in the United Kingdom with, following a reorganisation of boundaries in June 2004, 120 Birmingham...

 in its role as local education authority
Local Education Authority
A local education authority is a local authority in England and Wales that has responsibility for education within its jurisdiction...

 (LEA). However, there are a large number of voluntary aided
Voluntary aided school
A voluntary aided school is a state-funded school in England and Wales in which a foundation or trust owns the school buildings, contributes to building costs and has a substantial influence in the running of the school...

 schools within the state system.

Since the 1970s, most secondary schools in Birmingham have been 11-16/18 comprehensive schools, while post GCSE students have the choice of continuing their education in either a school's sixth form or at a further education college. Birmingham has always operated a primary school system of 4–7 infant and 7–11 junior schools.

King Edward's School
King Edward's School, Birmingham
King Edward's School is an independent secondary school in Birmingham, England, founded by King Edward VI in 1552. It is part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, and is widely regarded as one of the most academically successful schools in the country, according to...

, founded in 1552, is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious independent school in the city. Other notable independent schools in the city include the Birmingham Blue Coat School
Birmingham Blue Coat School
The Blue Coat School is a preparatory school in Birmingham, England for children aged two to 11. The school was founded in 1722. In 1930, it moved from the northeast corner of St. Philip's Square to its current location on Somerset Road, on the border between Edgbaston and Harborne. It has 15 acres...

 and Edgbaston High School for Girls. The seven schools of The King Edward VI Foundation
Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI
The Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham is a charitable institution that operates two independent schools, five voluntary aided selective state schools in Birmingham, England and one academy....

 are known nationally for setting very high academic standards and all the schools consistently achieve top positions in national league tables.

Birmingham Central Library
Birmingham Central Library
Birmingham Central Library is the main public library in Birmingham, England, and the largest non-national library in Europe. It is managed by Birmingham City Council...

 is the largest non-national library in Europe. There are 41 local libraries in Birmingham, plus a regular mobile library service. The library service has 4 million visitors annually,

Religion




Although Christianity is the largest religion within Birmingham, with 59% of residents stating that they were Christian in the 2001 Census
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, the city's religious profile is highly diverse: outside London, Birmingham has the United Kingdom's largest Muslim, Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 and Buddhist communities; its second largest Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 community; and its seventh largest Jewish community.

St Philip's Cathedral
St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham
The Cathedral Church of Saint Philip is the Church of England cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of Birmingham. Built as a parish church and consecrated in 1715, St Philip's became the cathedral of the newly formed Diocese of Birmingham in the West Midlands in 1905...

 was upgraded from church status when the Anglican Diocese of Birmingham
Anglican Diocese of Birmingham
The Anglican Diocese of Birmingham is a diocese in the Church of England's Province of Canterbury, covering the north west of the traditional county of Warwickshire in England....

 was created in 1905. There are two other cathedrals: St Chad's, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, and the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew
Birmingham Orthodox Cathedral
The Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew is a Greek Orthodox cathedral on Summer Hill Terrace in Birmingham, England, dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew. In Greek: The Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos and Saint Andreas...

. The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Midlands
Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Midlands and Affiliated Areas U.K.
The Coptic Orthdox Diocese of the Midlands and Affiliated Areas U.K. is under the care of His Grace Bishop Missael.-Background and Foundation:...

 is also based at Birmingham, with a cathedral under construction. The original parish church of Birmingham, St Martin in the Bull Ring
St Martin in the Bull Ring
The church of St Martin in the Bull Ring in Birmingham 5, England is a parish church in the Church of England.-Background:It is the original parish church of Birmingham. It stands between the Bull Ring shopping centre and the markets. The church is a Grade II* listed building. The current Rector...

, is Grade II* listed. A short distance from Five Ways
Five Ways, Birmingham
Five Ways is an area of Birmingham, England. It takes its name from a major road junction, now a busy roundabout to the south-west of the city centre which lies at the outward end of Broad Street, where the Birmingham Middle ring road crosses the start of the A456 .-History:The name of Five Ways...

 the Birmingham Oratory
Birmingham Oratory
The Birmingham Oratory is a Catholic oratory and church, on the Hagley Road, in the Birmingham suburb of Edgbaston in England.-History:The church was constructed between 1907 and 1910 in the Baroque style as a memorial to Cardinal Newman, founder of the English Oratory...

 was completed in 1910 on the site of Cardinal Newman's original foundation.

The oldest surviving synagogue in Birmingham is the 1825 Greek Revival Severn Street Synagogue
Severn Street Synagogue
The Severn Street Synagogue, built in 1813 as a synagogue in Birmingham, England, is now the Athol Masonic Hall. -History:Severn Street was newly carved out of the former Gooch Estate when the synagogue was built in 1809...

, now a Freemason's Lodge hall. It was replaced in 1856 by the Grade II* listed Singers Hill Synagogue
Singers Hill Synagogue
The Birmingham Hebrew Congregation Synagogue is a Grade II* listed building comprising 26, 26A and 26B Blucher Street in central Birmingham, England.Built in 1856, it was designed by Yeoville Thomason...

. Birmingham Central Mosque
Birmingham Central Mosque
Birmingham Central Mosque, is a mosque in the Highgate area of Birmingham, England, run by the Birmingham Mosque Trust. It is one of the largest Muslim centres in Europe....

, one of the largest in Europe, was constructed in the 1960s. During the late 1990s Ghamkol Shariff Masjid
Ghamkol Shariff Masjid
Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif is a major mosque in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, England. Construction work was started on 15 March 1992 in the holy month of Ramadan. Each night throughout construction, a hafiz would recite the Quran on the construction site...

 was built in Small Heath
Small Heath, Birmingham
Small Heath is an inner-city area within the city of Birmingham, West Midlands, England. It is situated on and around the A45 ....

. Much more recently Darul Barakaat Mosque
Darul Barakaat Mosque
The Darul Barakaat Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the city of Birmingham, England. It is run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and was inaugurated by Mirza Masroor Ahmad in 2004. It is located in the area of Bordesley Green....

 was built in the Bordesley Green
Bordesley Green
Bordesley Green is an inner-city area of Birmingham, England about two miles south-east from the city centre. It also contains a road of the same name. It is also a ward in the formal district of Hodge Hill. Neighbouring areas include, Alum Rock, Saltley, Small Heath and Yardley.Heartlands Hospital...

 area by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

. The Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Sikh
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 Gurdwara
Gurdwara
A Gurdwara , meaning the Gateway to the Guru, is the place of worship for Sikhs, the followers of Sikhism. A Gurdwara can be identified from a distance by tall flagpoles bearing the Nishan Sahib ....

 was built on Soho Road in Handsworth in the late 1970s and the Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 Dhammatalaka Peace Pagoda
Peace Pagoda
A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. Most have been built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii , a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order...

 near Edgbaston Reservoir
Edgbaston Reservoir
Edgbaston Reservoir, originally known as Rotton Park Reservoir and referred to in some early maps as Rock Pool Reservoir, is a canal feeder reservoir in the Ladywood district of Birmingham, England...

 in the 1990s.

Sport


Birmingham has played an important part in the history of sport. The Football League – the world's first league football competition – was founded by Birmingham resident and Aston Villa director William McGregor, who wrote to fellow club directors in 1888 proposing "that ten or twelve of the most prominent clubs in England combine to arrange home-and-away fixtures each season". The modern game of tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 was developed between 1859 and 1865 by Harry Gem
Harry Gem
Major Thomas Henry Gem , known as Harry Gem, was an English lawyer, soldier, writer and sportsman.Alongside his friend Augurio Perera, he is credited as the earliest inventor of the game of lawn tennis.-Biography:...

 and his friend Augurio Perera
Augurio Perera
Juan Bautista Augurio Perera was a Spanish-born, English-based merchant and sportsman, credited alongside his friend Major Harry Gem as the earliest inventor of the game of lawn tennis.-Life:...

 at Perera's house in Edgbaston
Edgbaston
Edgbaston is an area in the city of Birmingham in England. It is also a formal district, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Edgbaston ward and the wards of Bartley Green, Harborne and Quinton....

, with the Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society
Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society
Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society, informally known as The Archery and based in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England, is the oldest lawn tennis club in the world....

 remaining the oldest tennis club in the world. The Birmingham and District Cricket League
Birmingham and District Premier League
The Birmingham and District Cricket League is the oldest club cricket league in the world, formed in 1888. Arguably the strongest club competition in the country, it was also the first ECB Premier League, being designated such in 1998.- Geography :...

 is the oldest cricket league in the world, and Birmingham was the host for the first ever Cricket World Cup, a Women's Cricket World Cup
Women's Cricket World Cup
The ICC Women's Cricket World Cup is a Women's one-day international cricket competition. The first tournament was held in England in 1973, two years before the first men's ICC Cricket World Cup....

 in 1973. Birmingham was the first city to be named National City of Sport by the Sports Council
UK Sport
UK Sport is the UK Government's organisation for directing the development of sport within the home countries.-History:The Sports Council previously had been formed in 1972, and had the motto Sport for All. There was also the Central Council of Physical Recreation. In July 1994 it was decided to...

. Birmingham was selected ahead of London and Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 to bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics
1992 Summer Olympics
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same...

, but was unsuccessful in the final selection process, which was won by Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

.

Today the city is home of two of the country's oldest professional football teams: Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Witton, Birmingham. The club was founded in 1874 and have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888. They were also founder...

, who were founded in 1874 and play at Villa Park
Villa Park
Villa Park may mean:United Kingdom* Villa Park, an association football stadium in Birmingham, EnglandUnited States* Villa Park, California, a small city in Orange County* Villa Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago in DuPage County...

; and Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

, who were founded in 1875 and play at St Andrew's. Rivalry between the clubs is fierce and the fixture between the two is called the Second City derby. Villa currently play in the Premier League, and have been League champions on seven occasions and European Champions
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League, known simply the Champions League and originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup or European Cup, is an annual international club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations since 1955 for the top football clubs in Europe. It...

 in 1982. Birmingham City currently play in the Championship
Football League Championship
The Football League Championship is the highest division of The Football League and second-highest division overall in the English football league system after the Premier League...

, the second tier of English football, but are the holders of the Football League Cup
Football League Cup
The Football League Cup, commonly known as the League Cup or, from current sponsorship, the Carling Cup, is an English association football competition. Like the FA Cup, it is played on a knockout basis...

. Another Premier League club West Bromwich Albion F.C.
West Bromwich Albion F.C.
West Bromwich Albion Football Club, also known as West Brom, The Baggies, The Throstles, Albion or WBA, are an English Premier League association football club based in West Bromwich in the West Midlands...

 play just outside the city boundaries at The Hawthorns
The Hawthorns
The Hawthorns is an all-seater football stadium in West Bromwich, Sandwell, England, with a capacity of 26,484. It has been the home of West Bromwich Albion F.C. since 1900, when it became the sixth ground to be used by the club. The ground was the last Football League ground to be built in the...

.

Six times County Championship
County Championship
The County Championship is the domestic first-class cricket competition in England and Wales...

 winners Warwickshire County Cricket Club
Warwickshire County Cricket Club
Warwickshire County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Warwickshire. Its limited overs team is called the Warwickshire Bears. Their kit colours are black and gold and the shirt sponsor...

 play at Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Edgbaston Cricket Ground, also known as the County Ground or Edgbaston Stadium, is a cricket ground in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England...

, which also hosts test cricket
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

 and one day internationals, and is the largest cricket ground in the United Kingdom after Lord's
Lord's Cricket Ground
Lord's Cricket Ground is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board , the European Cricket Council and, until August 2005, the...

. Edgbaston was the scene of the highest ever score by a batsman in first-class cricket
First-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...

, when Brian Lara
Brian Lara
Brian Charles Lara, TC, OCC, AM is a former West Indian international cricket player. Lara is generally regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time...

 scored 501 not out for Warwickshire in 1994. Birmingham has a professional Rugby Union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 club, Moseley R.F.C.
Moseley Rugby Football Club
Moseley Rugby Football Club is an English rugby union club, based at Billesley Common in Birmingham, that competes in the RFU Championship. The club was historically the premier rugby club in Birmingham, reaching the final of the John Player Cup three times in the late 1970s and early 1980s...

, who play at Billesley Common
Billesley Common
Billesley Common is a recreational area of public open space in South Birmingham, England. It is situated along the Yardley Wood Road, between the suburbs of Moseley and Yardley Wood....

; with a second professional club, Birmingham & Solihull R.F.C.
Birmingham & Solihull R.F.C.
Birmingham and Solihull Rugby Football Club are a rugby union club representing Birmingham and Solihull. It was formed in 1989 by a merger of the original Birmingham and Solihull rugby clubs, which were both established over 60 years ago....

, playing at Damson Park
Damson Park
Damson Park is a stadium in Damson Parkway, Solihull, West Midlands, England. It was the traditional home of Solihull Borough F.C. before they merged to become Solihull Moors. They currently share Damson Park with Birmingham and Solihull Bees and also have an agreement that allows Birmingham City...

 in the neighbouring borough of Solihull
Metropolitan Borough of Solihull
The Metropolitan Borough of Solihull is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands, in west-central England. It is named after its largest town, Solihull, from which Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council is based. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary...

.

Two major championship golf course
Golf course
A golf course comprises a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing ground, fairway, rough and other hazards, and a green with a flagstick and cup, all designed for the game of golf. A standard round of golf consists of playing 18 holes, thus most golf courses have this number of holes...

s lie on the city's outskirts. The Belfry
The Belfry
The Belfry is a golf resort in Wishaw, Warwickshire, England, very near the Sutton Coldfield district of Birmingham, and owned since 2005 by Irish businessman Sean Quinn....

 near Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield is a suburb of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England. Sutton is located about from central Birmingham but has borders with Erdington and Kingstanding. Sutton is in the northeast of Birmingham, with a population of 105,000 recorded in the 2001 census...

 is the headquarters of the Professional Golfers' Association and has hosted the Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup is a biennial golf competition between teams from Europe and the United States. The competition is jointly administered by the PGA of America and the PGA European Tour, and is contested every two years, the venue alternating between courses in the United States and Europe...

 more times than any other venue. The Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club
Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club
The Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club is a hotel and country club complex in England. Operated my Marriott Hotels & Resorts, it is located to the east of Birmingham International Airport in Warwickshire....

 near Birmingham Airport is also a regular host of tournaments on the PGA European Tour
PGA European Tour
The PGA European Tour is an organization which operates the three leading men's professional golf tours in Europe: the elite European Tour, the European Seniors Tour and the developmental Challenge Tour. Its headquarters are at Wentworth Club in Virginia Water, Surrey, England...

, including the British Masters and the English Open
English Open
The English Open was a professional golf tournament on the European Tour. In 2009, it was due to be played over the Jack Nicklaus designed Signature Course at the St...

.

The AEGON Classic is, alongside Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon , is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three Majors...

 and Eastbourne, one of only three UK tennis tournaments on the WTA Tour
Women's Tennis Association
The Women's Tennis Association , founded in 1973 by Billie Jean King, is the principal organizing body of Women's Professional Tennis. It governs the WTA Tour which is the worldwide professional tennis tour for women. Its counterpart organization in the men's professional game is the Association of...

. It is played annually at the Edgbaston Priory Club
Edgbaston Priory Club
The Edgbaston Priory Club is a tennis complex in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The complex is the host of the annual WTA Tour stop, the AEGON Classic. The stadium court has a capacity of 1,500 people....

, which in 2010 announced plans for a multi-million pound redevelopment, including a new showcase centre court and a museum celebrating the game's Birmingham origins.

The Alexander Stadium
Alexander Stadium
Alexander Stadium is an international athletics stadium located within Perry Park in Perry Barr, Birmingham, England, at . It has staged the Amateur Athletics Association Championships, and was the venue of the 1998 Disability World Athletics Championships...

 in Perry Barr
Perry Barr
Perry Barr is an inner-city area in north Birmingham, England. It is also a council constituency, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Perry Barr ward and the wards of Handsworth Wood, Lozells and East Handsworth, and Oscott, which elect three councillors to...

 is the headquarters of UK Athletics
UK Athletics
UK Athletics is the governing body for the sport of athletics in the United Kingdom. It is responsible for overseeing the governance of athletics events in the UK as well as athletes, their development, and athletics officials....

, and one of only two British venues to host fixtures in the elite international IAAF Diamond League
IAAF Diamond League
The Samsung Diamond League is an annual series of track and field meetings held from 2010 onwards, beginning with the 2010 IAAF Diamond League...

. It is also the home of Birchfield Harriers
Birchfield Harriers
Birchfield Harriers is an athletics club, founded in 1877. Its home is at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium, England.Named after the Birchfield district of Birmingham, their previous home , at nearby Perry Barr, was Alexander Sports Ground. It still carries their badge, a running stag, rendered in...

, which has many international athletes amongst its members. The National Indoor Arena
National Indoor Arena
The National Indoor Arena is a large indoor arena and is owned by the NEC Group. It is situated in central Birmingham, England and was opened in 1991, as the largest indoor arena at the time in the UK...

 hosted the 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships and 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships
2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships
The 9th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics were held in the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, UK from 14 March to 16 March 2003. It was the first time the Championships had been held in the UK...

, as well as hosting the annual Aviva Indoor Grand Prix
Aviva Indoor Grand Prix
The Aviva Indoor Grand Prix is an annual indoor track and field competition which is held in mid-February at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England. It is one of a handful of events to hold IAAF Indoor Permit Meetings status...

 – the only British indoor athletics fixture to qualify as a IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting – and a wide variety of other sporting events. A fifty-metre Olympic sized swimming pool is planned for Ladywood
Ladywood
Ladywood is an inner-city area in Birmingham, England. It is a council constituency, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Ladywood ward and the wards of Aston, Nechells and Soho. In June 2004, Birmingham City Council conducted a city-wide "Ward Boundary...

. Professional boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, hockey
Field hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...

, skateboarding
Skateboarding
Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.Skateboarding can be a recreational activity, an art form, a job, or a method of transportation. Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by many skateboarders throughout the years. A 2002 report...

, stock-car racing, greyhound racing
Greyhound racing
Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhounds. The dogs chase a lure on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner....

 and speedway
Motorcycle speedway
Motorcycle speedway, usually referred to as speedway, is a motorcycle sport involving four and sometimes up to six riders competing over four anti-clockwise laps of an oval circuit. Speedway motorcycles use only one gear and have no brakes and racing takes place on a flat oval track usually...

 also takes place within the city.

Food & drink


Birmingham's development as a commercial town was originally based around its market for agricultural produce, established by royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 in 1166. Despite the industrialisation of subsequent centuries this role has been retained, and the Birmingham Wholesale Markets
Birmingham Wholesale Markets
The Birmingham Wholesale Markets are the largest combined wholesale food markets in the United Kingdom, with 235 trading units totalling . Located just south of the Bull Ring in the centre of Birmingham, they include markets selling meat, fish, poultry, fruit, vegetables and flowers and are run by...

 remain the largest combined wholesale food markets in the country, selling meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and flowers and supplying fresh produce to restauranteurs and independent retailers from as far as 100 miles away.

Birmingham is the only English city outside London to have three Michelin starred
Michelin Guide
The Michelin Guide is a series of annual guide books published by Michelin for over a dozen countries. The term normally refers to the Michelin Red Guide, the oldest and best-known European hotel and restaurant guide, which awards the Michelin stars...

 restaurants: Simpson's in Edgbaston
Edgbaston
Edgbaston is an area in the city of Birmingham in England. It is also a formal district, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Edgbaston ward and the wards of Bartley Green, Harborne and Quinton....

, Turners in Harborne
Harborne
Harborne is an area three miles southwest from Birmingham city centre, England. It is a Birmingham City Council ward in the formal district and in the parliamentary constituency of Birmingham Edgbaston.- Geography :...

 and Purnell's
Glynn Purnell
Glynn Purnell is an English chef and restauranteur. Described by the Birmingham Post as "undoubtably the finest chef to hail from Chelmsley Wood", he is the proprietor and Head Chef at Purnell's restaurant in Birmingham, England, which was awarded a Michelin star in January 2009.-Life and...

in the city centre.

Birmingham based breweries
Brewery
A brewery is a dedicated building for the making of beer, though beer can be made at home, and has been for much of beer's history. A company which makes beer is called either a brewery or a brewing company....

 included Ansells, Davenport's and Mitchells & Butlers. Aston Manor Brewery
Aston Manor Brewery
Aston Manor Brewery is a brewery and beer bottling company in Aston, Birmingham, England. The company produces beer, cider and perry. It is the third largest cider company in the UK by market share, and the fourth largest in the world. Its products include Frosty Jack's Cider, the UK's leading...

 is currently the only brewery of any significant size. Many fine Victorian pubs and bars can still be found across the city. The oldest inn in Birmingham is the Old Crown
The Old Crown, Birmingham
The Old Crown a pub in Deritend, is the oldest extant secular building in Birmingham, England. It is Grade II* listed, and claims to date back to circa 1368, retaining its "black and white" timber frame, although almost all of the present building dates from the early 16th century.-History:It is...

 in Deritend
Deritend
Deritend is an historic area of Birmingham, England, built around a crossing point of the River Rea. It is first mentioned in 1276. Today Deritend is usually considered to be part of Digbeth.-History:...

 (circa 1450). The city has a plethora of nightclubs and bars, notably along Broad Street.

The Wing Yip
Wing Yip
Wing Yip is a Chinese supermarket chain in the United Kingdom, founded in 1969.The current Birmingham store now also serves as its headquarters office, international trading division, property and investments, , warehouse, and national distribution centre...

 food empire first began in the city and now has its headquarters in Nechells
Nechells
Nechells is an area in inner-city Birmingham, England, with a population of 27,969 . It is also a ward within the formal district of Ladywood. Nechells local government ward includes areas, for example parts of Birmingham city centre, which are not part of the historic district of Nechells as such...

. The Balti
Balti (food)
A Balti is a British-style type of curry cooked and served up in a thin, pressed steel wok-like pan. It is served in many restaurants in the United Kingdom...

, a type of curry
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

, was invented in the city, which has received much acclaim for the 'Balti Belt' or 'Balti Triangle
Balti Triangle
The Balti Triangle is an area of Balti houses clustered along Ladypool Road, Stoney Lane and Stratford Road, to the south of Birmingham city centre. It covers parts of Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Balsall Heath....

'. Famous food brands that originated in Birmingham include Typhoo tea, Bird's Custard
Bird's Custard
Bird's Custard is the original version of what is known generically as custard powder. It is a cornflour -based powder which thickens to form a custard-like sauce when mixed with milk and heated to a sufficient temperature...

, Cadbury's chocolate and HP Sauce
HP Sauce
HP Sauce is a popular brown sauce originally produced by HP Foods in the UK, now produced by H.J. Heinz in the Netherlands.It is the best-known brand of brown sauce in the United Kingdom and Canada as well as the best selling, with 71% of the UK market....

.

Media



Birmingham has several major local newspapers – the daily Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail
The Birmingham Mail is a tabloid newspaper based in Birmingham, UK but distributed around Birmingham, The Black Country, Solihull, Warwickshire and parts of Worcestershire and Staffordshire. The newspaper, which was re-branded from the Birmingham Evening Mail in October 2005, is one of the biggest...

the now weekly Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
The Birmingham Post newspaper was originally published under the name Daily Post in Birmingham, England, in 1857 by John Frederick Feeney. It was the largest selling broadsheet in the West Midlands, though it faced little if any competition in this category. It changed to tabloid size in 2008...

, and the weekly Sunday Mercury
Sunday Mercury
Sunday Mercury is a Sunday tabloid published in Birmingham, UK, and owned by Trinity Mirror.The first editor was John Turner Fearon , who left the Dublin-based Freeman's Journal to take up the position...

, all owned by the Trinity Mirror
Trinity Mirror
Trinity Mirror plc is a large British newspaper and magazine publisher. It is Britain's biggest newspaper group, publishing 240 regional papers as well as the national Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People, and the Scottish Sunday Mail and Daily Record. Its headquarters are at Canary Wharf in...

 who also own What's On magazine, a fortnightly listings title which has been running for 30 years. Forward (formerly Birmingham Voice) is a freesheet produced by Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council
The Birmingham City Council is the body responsible for the governance of the City of Birmingham in England, which has been a metropolitan district since 1974. It is the most populated local authority in the United Kingdom with, following a reorganisation of boundaries in June 2004, 120 Birmingham...

, which is distributed to homes in the city. Birmingham is also the hub for various national ethnic media and the base for two regional Metro editions (east and west Midlands).
Birmingham has a long cinematic history.

The Electric Cinema
Electric Cinema
The Electric Cinema is a cinema and sound recording facility in Birmingham, England. It opened in Station Street in 1909, showing its first silent film on 27 December of that year, and is now the oldest working cinema in the country. It predates its namesake, the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill,...

 on Station Street is the oldest working cinema in the UK, and Oscar Deutsch
Oscar Deutsch
Oscar Deutsch was the founder of the Odeon Cinemas chain in the United Kingdom.-Life and career:Deutsch was born in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, England, the son of Leopold Deutsch, a successful Hungarian Jewish scrap metal merchant. After attending King Edward VI Five Ways, he opened his first...

 opened his first Odeon cinema
Odeon Cinemas
Odeon Cinemas is a British chain of cinemas, one of the largest in Europe. It is owned by Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group whose ultimate parent is Terra Firma Capital Partners.-History:Odeon Cinemas was created in 1928 by Oscar Deutsch...

 in Perry Barr
Perry Barr
Perry Barr is an inner-city area in north Birmingham, England. It is also a council constituency, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Perry Barr ward and the wards of Handsworth Wood, Lozells and East Handsworth, and Oscott, which elect three councillors to...

 during the 1920s. Birmingham-born architect Harry Weedon
Harry Weedon
Harold William "Harry" Weedon was an English architect. Although he designed a large number of buildings during a long career, he is best known for his role overseeing the Art Deco designs of the Odeon Cinemas for Oscar Deutsch in the 1930s...

 collaborated with Oscar Deutsch to design over 300 cinemas across the country, most in the distinctive Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

style. The largest cinema screen in West Midlands
West Midlands
West Midlands may refer to:* West Midlands , a region in England* West Midlands , the metropolitan county in the West Midlands region* West Midlands conurbation, the large conurbation in the West Midlands region...

 is located at Millennium Point in the Eastside
Eastside, Birmingham
Eastside is a district of Birmingham City Centre, England currently undergoing a major redevelopment project. The overall cost when completed is expected to be £6–8 billion over a period of ten years which will result in the creation of 12,000 jobs. 8,000 jobs are expected to be created during the...

. Birmingham has also been the location for films including Felicia's Journey
Felicia's Journey
Felicia's Journey is a 1999 film starring Elaine Cassidy and Bob Hoskins, based on a prize winning 1994 novel by William Trevor. It was directed by Atom Egoyan...

of 1999, which used locations in Birmingham that were used in Take Me High
Take Me High
Take Me High is a 1973 British feature film, directed by David Askey, written by Christopher Penfold and starring Cliff Richard in his final film role, with Deborah Watling, Hugh Griffith, George Cole and Anthony Andrews....

of 1973 to contrast the changes in the city.

As well as being the location for television dramas, Birmingham is also a national hub for television broadcasting. The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 has two facilities in the city. The Mailbox
The Mailbox
The Mailbox is an upmarket development of offices, designer shops, restaurants, bars and luxury city-centre apartments in the City Centre and on the boundary of the City Centre Core in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. It includes a mini supermarket and three art galleries: the Artlounge, Castle...

, in the city centre, is the location for the national headquarters of BBC English Regions
BBC English Regions
BBC English Regions is the division of the BBC responsible for local television, radio, web and teletext services in England. It is one of the BBC's four 'Nations' - the others being BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland....

, the headquarters of BBC West Midlands
BBC West Midlands
BBC West Midlands is the BBC English Region producing local television, radio, web and teletext content for West Midlands metropolitan county, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and parts of Northern Gloucestershire - although the county as part of the south west...

 and the BBC Birmingham
BBC Birmingham
BBC Birmingham is one of the oldest regional arms of the BBC, located in Birmingham, West Midlands. It was the first region outside of London to start broadcasting both the corporation's radio and television transmissions, the latter from the Sutton Coldfield television transmitter...

 network production centre, which were previously located at the Pebble Mill Studios
Pebble Mill Studios
The BBC 's Pebble Mill Studios were located in Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham, England. The views from the roof overlooked Cannon Hill Park, a nature centre, as well as Birmingham's city centre...

 in Edgbaston
Edgbaston
Edgbaston is an area in the city of Birmingham in England. It is also a formal district, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Edgbaston ward and the wards of Bartley Green, Harborne and Quinton....

. The BBC Drama Village, based in Selly Oak
Selly Oak
Selly Oak is a residential suburban district in south-west Birmingham, England. The suburb is bordered by Bournbrook and Selly Park to the north-east, Edgbaston and Harborne to the north, Weoley Castle and Weoley Hill to the west, and Bournville to the south...

, is a production facility specialising in television drama
BBC television drama
BBC television dramas have been produced and broadcast since even before the public service company had an officially established television broadcasting network in the United Kingdom...

.

Central/ATV studios in Birmingham were the location for the recording of many programmes for ITV including Tiswas
Tiswas
Tiswas was a Saturday morning children's British television series which ran from 5 January 1974 to 3 April 1982 and was produced for the ITV network by ATV Network Limited....

and Crossroads until the complex was closed. When Central TV moved to its current Gas Street studios, it was also the main hub for CITV
CITV
CITV is a British television channel from ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It broadcasts content from the CITV archive, as well as commissions and acquisitions. CITV itself is the programming block on the main ITV Network .The CITV channel broadcasts from 06:00 to 18:00...

 until CITV was moved to Manchester in 2004. All of ITV Central's output from Birmingham now consists of the West and East editions of the regional news programme Central Tonight
Central Tonight
Central Tonight is a regional television news and current affairs programme, produced by ITV Central, serving the English Midlands.-History:...

.

The city is served by numerous national and regional radio stations, as well as local radio stations. These include brmb
Brmb
brmb is a local radio station based in Birmingham, UK, owned and operated by Orion Media. The station broadcasts on 96.4 FM, DAB Digital Radio in the West Midlands and online...

, 102.2 Capital FM Birmingham, Heart West Midlands
Heart West Midlands
Heart West Midlands is a radio station based in Birmingham, England, as part of the Heart Network, with a regional license to broadcast to the West Midlands...

, Kerrang! Radio
Kerrang! 105.2
Kerrang! Radio is a specialist rock music radio station broadcasting to the West Midlands, England. The station's format mixes modern & classic rock with speech programmes targeted at young people and an adult rock audience. Broadcasting on FM in the West Midlands and DAB & Freeview and online,...

, BBC WM
BBC WM
BBC WM is the BBC Local Radio service for the West Midlands, South Staffordshire, north Worcestershire and north Warwickshire, operated by BBC Birmingham. Launched on 9 November 1970 as BBC Radio Birmingham, it broadcasts from central Birmingham on 95.6 FM, DAB and on the internet...

, New Style Radio 98.7FM
New Style Radio 98.7FM
New Style Radio 98.7 FM is a community radio station based in Birmingham, England and broadcasting to the city's African-Caribbean community.New Style 98.7 FM, launched on 14 August 2002, was born out of 15 years of short term radio broadcasting and training....

 and Smooth Radio's West Midlands News & Admin Team. The Archers
The Archers
The Archers is a long-running British soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"...

, the world's longest running radio soap, is recorded in Birmingham for BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

.

Science and invention



Birmingham has been the location for some of the most important inventions and scientific breakthroughs. Local inventions and notable firsts include: gas lighting
Gas lighting
Gas lighting is production of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, propane, butane, acetylene, ethylene, or natural gas. Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most...

, custard powder
Alfred Bird
Alfred Bird was a British food manufacturer and chemist. He was born in Nympsfield, Gloucestershire, England in 1811 was the inventor of a series of food products mostly now taken for granted...

, Brylcreem
Brylcreem
Brylcreem is a brand of hair styling products for men. The first Brylcreem product was a pomade created in 1928 by County Chemicals at the Chemico Works in Bradford Street, Birmingham, England. The pomade is an emulsion of water and mineral oil stabilised with beeswax.Beecham was the longtime...

, the magnetron, the first ever use of radiography
Radiography
Radiography is the use of X-rays to view a non-uniformly composed material such as the human body. By using the physical properties of the ray an image can be developed which displays areas of different density and composition....

 in an operation, Lewis Paul
Lewis Paul
Lewis Paul was the original inventor of roller spinning, the basis of the water frame for spinning cotton in a cotton mill.-Life and work:Lewis Paul was of Huguenot descent. His father was physician to Lord Shaftesbury...

 and John Wyatt
John Wyatt (inventor)
John Wyatt , an English inventor, was born near Lichfield and was related to Sarah Ford, Doctor Johnson's mother. A carpenter by trade he began work in Birmingham on the development of a spinning machine...

's first cotton Roller Spinning machine and the UK's first ever hole-in-the-heart
Atrial septal defect
Atrial septal defect is a form of congenital heart defect that enables blood flow between the left and right atria via the interatrial septum. The interatrial septum is the tissue that divides the right and left atria...

 operation, at Birmingham Children's Hospital
Birmingham Children's Hospital
The Birmingham Children's Hospital is a children's hospital located in Birmingham, England.It provides general and emergency health care services to children in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond. It specialises in liver transplantation, cardiac, and neonatal surgery...

.

Among the city's notable scientists and inventors are Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton, FRS was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the...

, proprietor of the Soho engineering works
Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry was a factory created in 1795 by Matthew Boulton and James Watt at Smethwick, West Midlands, England , for the manufacture of steam engines.-History:...

, Sir Francis Galton, originator of eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

 and important techniques in statistics, Joseph Priestley
Joseph Priestley
Joseph Priestley, FRS was an 18th-century English theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who published over 150 works...

, chemist and radical and James Watt, engineer and inventor who is associated with the steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

. Many of these scientists were members of the Lunar Society
Lunar Society
The Lunar Society of Birmingham was a dinner club and informal learned society of prominent figures in the Midlands Enlightenment, including industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals, who met regularly between 1765 and 1813 in Birmingham, England. At first called the Lunar Circle,...

, which was based in the city.

Twin cities


Birmingham has six twin cities
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

, which Birmingham City Council refers to as "international partner cities". They are:
Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, United States Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

, Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

, China Frankfurt am Main, Germany Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

, South Africa Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, Germany Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, France Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, Italy


There are also Treaties of Friendship between Birmingham and Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 in China, and between Birmingham and Mirpur in Azad Kashmir
Azad Kashmir
Azad Jammu and Kashmir or Azad Kashmir for short, is the southernmost political entity within the Pakistani-administered part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir...

 from where about 90,000 Birmingham citizens originate.

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

, USA, is named after the city and shares an industrial kinship.

See also



External links