Birmingham means Home (HAM) of the people (ING) of the tribal
leader BIRM or BEORMA. >more
book of 1086 valued Birmingham at twenty shillings,
one of the poorest manors in Warwickshire. By 1400 it was the fourth
wealthiest place in Warwickshire.
Matthew Boulton, one of the great pioneers of the Industrial
Revolution was born in Snow Hill in 1728.
James Watt worked with Boulton in Birmingham and together they
perfected Watt's invention of the steam engine, which powered
Britain's rise to industrial supremacy.
William Murdock, inventor of gas lighting, was also employed by
Boulton, Watt and Murdock are all buried at St Mary's Church,
Handsworth which has become a place of pilgrimage for historians,
scientists and thinkers from as far a field as Japan.
James Watt's name lives on through the his name was given to the
electric unit of power, the Watt.
Joseph Priestley, the world renowned Birmingham-based scientist
and chemist, discovered oxygen. He was forced to leave Birmingham
after a rioting mob destroyed his house in Sparkbrook.
The Baskerville typeface, used by printers world-wide, is named
after its inventor John Baskerville, who lived and is buried in
Dr William Withering discovered (1785) the use of digitalis which was
extracted from the fox glove and used in the treatment of heart
disease. It is still in use today as the drug Digitoxin and Digoxin.
Bishop Francis Asbury, the founder of the American Methodist
Church, lived in Newton Road, Great Barr, Birmingham until 1771 when he left for
the New World and Evangelism. >More
Lloyd's Bank was founded in 1765 in Dale End by Sampson Lloyd and
John Taylor. The Midland Bank also began life in Birmingham.
American consul, Elihu Burritt acclaimed Birmingham as the
"pen shop of the world" in 1868 and declared Birmingham's
pens were one of "the pioneers of civilisation", bringing
to a large number of people the opportunity to write.
George Cadbury began making chocolate in Birmingham in 1824. At
that time chocolate was considered an aphrodisiac and therefore not
suitable for a lady's diet.
The Great Reform Act of 1832 which gave birth to English
democracy was passed largely as a result of the campaigning of the
Birmingham Political Union, led by the city banker Thomas Attwood.
Birmingham Town Hall was designed by the architect Hansom, who
also designed the Hansom cab. >more
St Chad's Roman Catholic Cathedral was designed by Pugin. It was
the first Catholic cathedral to be built in Britain since the
Art and Culture
Charles Dickens was the sixteenth President of The Birmingham and
Sherlock Holmes' creator Arthur Conan Doyle lived in Birmingham
from 1871 to 1881.
J R R Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings" and
"The Hobbit" grew up by Sarehole Mill. >more
Birmingham's oldest cinema is the Electric, opened on 30 July
The famous ODEON chain of cinemas was first opened in Birmingham
in 1930 by Oscar Deutsch. ODEON stands for Oscar Deutch Entertains
Famous actors and entertainers from the region include
Tony Hancock, Sid Field, Julie Walters, Lenny Henry
and Jasper Carrott.
The whistle used by Kate Winslett in the film "Titanic"
was based on the original whistle used to save people's lives when
the ship sank. The whistle was invented and made by Birmingham
company, J Hudson & Co.
Mendelssohn composed his oratorio Elijah for Birmingham's
Triennial Music Festival which began in the 18th century and ran
until 1912, when Sibelius conducted the British premiere of his
Fourth Symphony. Dvorak, Elgar and Grieg also took part in the
Pop groups as diverse as UB40, Duran Duran, Led Zeppelin,
Slade, Stevie Winwood, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne
and the Electric Light Orchestra and Ocean Colour Scene. Black
Osbourne born in Aston is now has a half hour show on MTV "The
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has one of the finest
collections of 19th century paintings in the United Kingdom and has
been designated as being of national importance. In it staged an
exhibition of the work of Edward Burne-Jones, which will only be
seen in Birmingham, New York and Paris .
Birmingham Royal Ballet, formerly Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet,
was the first ballet company to relocate from London to Birmingham
in 1990. It is also the first ballet company to set up a degree
course for its dancers.
Meetings and Conferences
The NEC, opened in 1976, is the UK's largest and Europe's seventh
largest exhibition venue.
The NEC stages more exhibitions than any other major European
centre, including the UK's top trade and public events.
The UK's highest profile business event - the CBI (Confederation
of British Industry) National Conference has been staged at the ICC
for an unprecedented four years out of five.
Symphony Hall, within the ICC, sits on 2,000 rubber "shock
absorbers" which help to prevent any external vibration
reaching the hall. It is recognised as one of the most acoustically
perfect venues in the world.
The foundation stone of the ICC was laid in 1986 by Jacques
Delors, the then President of the European Commission. The stone
still stands at the ICC's canalside entrance.
F.W Lanchester built the first four-wheeled petrol driven car in
One third of the jewellery manufactured in the UK is made within
one mile of Birmingham city centre.
Half of all jewellery made in the UK comes from Birmingham's
Birmingham's assay office, established in 1773, is the largest in
Birmingham is Britain's most land-locked city but the assay mark
for jewellery made in Birmingham is the anchor.
The Birmingham School of Jewellery is the first purpose-built
jewellery school to be built in Europe for over 20 years.
The West Midlands is home to Europe's largest centre for the
manufacture of ceramics, combined with a significant crystalware
The West Midlands is the top-ranking automotive manufacturing
area in the UK with the highest number of foreign and indigenous
All models of the internationally recognised Land Rover, produced
in the UK are made in Solihull.
Way back in 1940, two scientists, Sir John Randall
and Dr. H. A. Boot, invented a device called a magnetron to
produce microwaves in their lab at England's Birmingham University.
The magnetron became the most critical component of the microwave
The game of lawn tennis was first originated and played in
Edgbaston in 1865.
Edgbaston Archery is the oldest Lawn Tennis Club in the world.
There are more world and European sporting championships staged
in Birmingham than any other UK city
Birmingham holds the title 'National City of Sport' awarded by the Sports
Council to only three UK cities
Birmingham has three professional football teams - Aston Villa,
nicknamed the Villains; Birmingham City, nicknamed the Blues; and
West Bromwich Albion, nicknamed the Baggies.
William McGregor, the Aston Villa Football Club Committee man is
credited with the idea leading to the creation of the Football
League in 1888. Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion were founder
members of the football league.
Nigel Mansell, the former F1
Grand Prix World Champion winning 31 Grand Prix events, lived in
Hall Green and worked for Lucas Aerospace.
The Ryder Cup will return to the Brabazon course at the Belfry
for a record fourth time in 2002.
The population of Birmingham is nearly 1 million people; 6
million people live within 50 miles of the city.
There are 30 other Birminghams around the world and one crater on
the moon called Birmingham.
Birmingham's key partner cities are Frankfurt and Leipzig
(Germany); Lyon (France); Milan (Italy); Chicago (USA) and most
recently Johannesburg, (South Africa).
Birmingham's civic motto is Forward.
The statue in Centenary Square takes its name from the civic
motto and is also known as Forward.
Centenary Square is made up of more than half a million bricks -
all hand laid.
21.5% of the population of Birmingham are classified as ethnic
The people of Birmingham are known as Brummies. >more
The city puts on the third largest St Patrick's day parade in the
world, next to Dublin and New York
80% of the land area in the West Midlands classed as rural.
There are suburbs in Birmingham called California, Hollywood and
Birmingham has the UK's largest National Sealife Centre which
incorporates the world's only 360 degree transparent tunnel so you
can stand suspended in mid-ocean.
If all the Cadbury creme eggs made by Birmingham-based Cadbury
were stacked on top of each other, they would be 900 times higher
Birmingham is home to the Balti, a spicy, aromatic Kashmiri dish,
with over 100 Balti houses attracting over 20,000 visitors per week.
Brindleyplace is the first mixed use canal-side city development
of its type in the UK. The waterfront regeneration was awarded the
1998 British Airways Tourism For Tomorrow Award.
In 1998 Birmingham hosted three of the world's most prestigious
events - the Eurovision Song Contest, the G8 Birmingham Summit of
world leaders and the Lions Clubs International Convention - the
largest convention of its type in the world.