Birmingham is the second largest city in England and the United Kingdom.
It is located near the geographic centre of England, approximately 180 kilometers (110 miles) from London.
As of January 2020, the population of Birmingham is about 1.15 million people.
The city covers a total area of 268 square kilometers (103 square miles).
The average altitude is 140 meters (460 feet) above sea level.
Birmingham’s first market charter was granted in 1166, but it was not until the 14th century that it emerged as a settlement of any significance.
Its lack of river transport, by cutting it off from maritime contacts important in the medieval period, impeded its development from a small manufacturing town to a large city until the late 18th century, when it became the leading nucleus of the Industrial Revolution in Britain.
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 an economic base for prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century.
From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed heavily by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz. The damage done to the city’s infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades.
Today, Birmingham is a center of light engineering and small industries. It is sometimes called the City of 1,001 Trades because of the diversity of its industries.
The heart of Birmingham revolves around the pedestrian-friendly Victoria Square. It is home to both the Town Hall and the Council House, and directly adjacent to Chamberlain Square. The square is the point from where local road sign distances are measured.
Birmingham is home to Cadbury’s Chocolate. George and his brother Richard Cadbury moved their successful chocolate manufacturing business from Bull Street, Birmingham to Bournville in 1879. Cadbury World was opened on 14 August 1990 by Morgan Anderson on Cadbury’s Bournville manufacturing site. It has gone on to become one of Birmingham’s largest leisure attractions. Over 500,000 people visit there each year especially children and students.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BM&AG) is a museum and art gallery in Birmingham. It has a collection of international importance covering fine art, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery, natural history, archaeology, ethnography, local history and industrial history. Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free, but some major exhibitions in the Gas Hall incur an entrance fee.
The Cathedral Church of Saint Philip is the Church of England cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of Birmingham.Built in 1715 as the new parish church “on the hill”, St Philip’s is a rare and fine example of elegant English Baroque architecture. It is Grade 1 listed and one of the oldest buildings in the city still used for its original purpose. Fascinating both inside and out, the cathedral is home to some remarkable treasures and amazing stories, all set amongst the daily rhythm of people criss-crossing this unique part of the city.
The National Sea Life Centre is an aquarium with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life in Brindleyplace, Birmingham. Its ocean tank has a capacity of 1,000,000 litres (220,000 imp gal) of water and houses giant green sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks and tropical reef fish, with the only fully transparent 360-degree underwater tunnel in the United Kingdom. Housing over 2,000 creatures from around the world, the centre describes itself as a place that ‘transports visitors into an underwater world of discovery’.
Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum is a science museum in Birmingham. This award-winning museum includes a large number of fascinating science-related exhibits, many of them hands-on and interactive. Highlights include an impressive collection of steam-powered machines, from locomotives to tractors, as well as industrial machinery, many related to Birmingham’s important role as an industrial center through the centuries.
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are a 15-acre (6-hectare) botanical garden situated in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The gardens are close to the centre of Birmingham and open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The gardens were designed in 1829 by J. C. Loudon, a leading garden planner, horticultural journalist and publisher and opened to the public on 11 June 1832.
Cannon Hill Park is a park located in south Birmingham. It is the most popular park in the city, covering 101 hectares (250 acres) consisting of formal, conservation, woodland and sports areas. Recreational activities at the park include boating, fishing, bowls, tennis, putting and picnic areas.
People from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city’s nickname of “Brum”, which originates from the city’s old name, Brummagem, which in turn is thought to have derived from “Bromwich-ham”. The Brummie accent and dialect are particularly distinctive.
Alec Issigonis was one of the most colourful car designers of modern times. He went on to design the world famous, Birmingham- made ‘Mini’, which started production in 1959 at Longbridge, Birmingham and is still in production today.
The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham. It was an early steam engine and was one of the driving forces of the industrial revolution.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, spent his childhood in Sarehole, Birmingham. The tiny village of Sarehole is said to have been the model for the Shire, home of Bilbo in the book The Hobbit.
There are 30 other Birminghams around the world and one crater on the moon called Birmingham!