Interesting facts about Birmingham, England

Interesting facts about Birmingham, England

In many posts on our site we usually review interesting and little-known, historical and surprising, absurd and funny facts about this or that city or region of this or that country. Now our attention is attracted by the English city of Birmingham, and more precisely, interesting facts about Birmingham.

Birmingham, located in the heart of England, is the second largest city in Great Britain. Filled with history, art and culture, this vibrant city was the center of world manufacturing, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution and was known during the Victorian era as the “Workshop of the World.

Today, Birmingham’s rich heritage can be seen in the many industrial-era landmarks scattered throughout the city and its intricate network of canals. The city’s central location draws thousands of visitors, including international tourists.

Did you know that a person born and raised in Birmingham is called a “brummie”? Here are some facts about famous brummies and interesting facts about Birmingham.

Birmingham, England.

Interesting facts about Birmingham.

1. Birmingham has more canals than Venice.

Birmingham, with its vast water network spanning 35 miles, actually has more canals than Venice, Italy. What’s more, more cubic meters of water pass through Birmingham’s canals than any other city on earth! You can take a boat in the Gas Street Basin area and take a tour of the city and learn about its industrial heritage.

2. Birmingham was the inspiration for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Not many people know it, but the cityscape and surrounding countryside served as the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien, which led to the creation of the iconic Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit sagas. His epic work, The Lord of the Rings, has been recognized as one of the major books of the 20th century.

Tolkien grew up in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley from the age of four, and his books are based on the places and people there. For example, The Shire, home of the hobbits, was inspired by the fields and mills in Sarochol, a village now swallowed up by the Birmingham suburbs. There is also speculation that the author’s writings mention the 29-foot Observatory of Perrot’s Madness and Edgbaston Waterworks. In The Lord of the Rings we see the image of the illuminated clock tower of the University of Birmingham.

3. The youngest city in Europe.

Birmingham is officially the youngest city in Europe, with almost 40% of its population under 25 years old.

4. The world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, located next to City Hall, is home to the world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings (an imitation of the Florentine Renaissance painters who painted before Raphael). The museum holds more than 3,000 paintings, drawings, prints and other examples of 19th-century decorative arts and design.

Interesting facts about Birmingham: Birmingham has more canals than Venice.

5. Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Birmingham’s jewelry district produces 40% of all jewelry in the United Kingdom. What’s more, it’s the highest concentration of jewelry production in Europe. It’s also home to the largest jewelry school in Europe.

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6. The largest city park in Europe.

Birmingham has the largest city park in Europe – Sutton Park. Its area is 970 hectares. And with more than 3,500 hectares of parks, nature reserves and green spaces, it’s one of the greenest cities in Britain. In all, Birmingham has 571 parks, more than any other city of its size in Europe.

7. The tradition of English stained glass windows.

Walking into Birmingham’s cathedrals, and indeed all of England, many people have no idea to whom they should be grateful for the extraordinary stained glass windows. The creator of English church stained glass is Birmingham-born Edward Burne-Johnson, who was a prominent member of the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts movements in the 19th century.

8. Interesting fact: Birmingham is a city of many celebrities.

Some of Birmingham’s famous people include:

  • car racer, Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell;
  • journalist and sports television commentator Murray Walker; writer and poet Benjamin Zeffania, one of Britain’s 50 Greatest Postwar Writers;
  • comic actor Jasper Carrot;
  • actress, singer, broadcaster Cat Deeley;
  • Walter Abbott, legendary footballer of the last century, who scored 104 goals in 391 games;
  • rock musician and member of Black Sabath, Ozzy Osbourne;
  • the musical group Duran Duran; and many other celebrities.

Historical interesting facts about Birmingham.

9. Birmingham’s centuries-old markets.

Birmingham’s first market, the Bull Ring, dates back to the 12th century and initially specialized in selling textiles. After that the city became the market center of the country. In 2003 a new modern shopping center Birmingham Bullring opened on the site of the Birmingham Bullring and became the largest in Europe. The futuristic structure consists of two huge malls, the East and West, connected to each other by an underground passage. On the territory of the center there are many works of art. Some of them: a glass mural of 120 m², 3 light sticks, creating a lighthouse effect at night, a bronze statue of Nelson. At the main entrance of the West Mall is the Guardian, a 2.2 meter high bronze sculpture of a running bull by Laurence Broderick. This sculpture is a symbol of the city of Birmingham.

10. The FA Cup was made in Birmingham.

The FA Cup trophy was made in Birmingham in 1871, and the first soccer league in the world began here. The trophy is the main prize of the FA Cup, which is drawn annually.

11 One of the cathedrals in Birmingham was designed by the architect who designed Big Ben.

St. Chad’s Cathedral of 1841 on the edge of the Jewell Quarter in Birmingham is one of the finest Neo-Gothic church buildings in England. It was designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, the same architect who planned the famous Big Ben (to be precise, the correct name is Elizabeth Tower) and the Houses of Parliament in London. The church houses several magnificent 19th century stained glass windows, a 16th century Flemish pulpit and a late medieval statue of the Virgin Mary, as well as one of the largest new manual organs in Britain, built by Walkers & Co. in 1993.

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Birmingham Facts of Interest: St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham was designed by the architect who created Big Ben.

12. The home of the richest man of the eighteenth century.

If you thought Bill Gates was the richest man, we might disappoint you. Birmingham industrialist and inventor Matthew Bolton, at the peak of his innovation, accumulated a personal fortune twice that of Microsoft magnate Bill Gates! At the end of the 18th century, Bolton lived in the elegant Soho House. He also founded the Soho Mint.

13. Birmingham is the birthplace of the postage stamp.

Thanks to the efforts of teacher and inventor Hill Rowland, in 1840 Birmingham issued a postage stamp that went down in history as the “Black Penny”. The stamp depicted the profile of Queen Victoria. Thus, Rowland is considered a reformer of the British postal system, who later became the general secretary of the English Post Office.

14. Cluedo was invented in Birmingham.

The murder mystery board game Cluedo is loved by millions of people around the world. Although it belongs to the American company Hasbro, it was actually invented in Birmingham in 1943 by musician Anthony E. Pratt. There is a plaque on the wall of a house on Brighton Road where Pratt lived and created the game.

15. The first steam engine was built in the Black Country.

The first working steam engine in history was built in the Black Country area (a name derived from the cluster of iron and steel industries in the area) on the outskirts of Birmingham and is known as the Newcomen Engine. July 14, 1712 is considered the day of its creation, which is still celebrated in Britain as Black Country Day. This pioneering invention of Thomas Newcomen was the most important event of the Industrial Revolution, which also began in this city.

16. Tennis was invented on the lawn in Birmingham.

The game of tennis was invented in Birmingham in 1859 on the lawn of a Spanish merchant’s house in Edgbaston. Agurio Perera and his friend Harry Jam, a clerk at the Birmingham Magistrate, developed the new game by combining elements of other popular sports of the time, such as rackets and Basque pelota.

Interesting facts about Birmingham: Birmingham Bullring is the largest shopping center in Europe.

Interesting facts about Birmingham foodies.

17. Birmingham is the birthplace of Baltz.

The famous Indian dish Balti (Baltz) is lamb or goat curry meat cooked in a wok – “Balti bowl”. The dish was first served at Adil’s Restaurant on Stony Lane in the Sparkbrook neighborhood in 1977. Balti restaurants are often referred to in Birmingham as “Balti houses,” and there are now about a hundred of them in the city. Some belts houses have a glass plate on the table with a menu fixed underneath. Bălți houses usually offer large pieces of karak naan bread to share with the entire table. The food and its style of serving proved very popular in the 1980s, these days the famous Balti Triangle attracts more than 20,000 visitors a week. This Indian food has become a favorite dish in Britain, and beyond that, in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. And the curry market in Britain is worth a whopping £4 billion a year!

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18. The second most Michelin-starred restaurants in Britain.

There are five Michelin-starred restaurants in Birmingham – more than anywhere else in the UK except London.

19. 5th busiest McDonald’s in the world.

Birmingham is home to the 5th busiest McDonald’s in the world and one of the first McDonald’s to open on Christmas Day.

20. The 2nd largest confectionery manufacturer in the world.

Cadbury, located in the Bournville area, is the nation’s favorite chocolate manufacturer and has become the second-largest confectionery manufacturer in the world. The company was formed in Birmingham in 1824 by John Cadbury. Now in Birmingham, there is a museum, Cadbury’s World, which introduces visitors not only to the products, but also to the process of making it.

It should be noted that not only Cadbury chocolate originated in Birmingham, but also other well-known food brands in the world. These are Bournville drinking chocolate, Typhoo tea, HP Sauce (brown sauce, the main ingredients of which are tomatoes and tamarind extract) and Bird’s Custard (powdered custard without eggs).

Birmingham Facts of Interest: Cadbury is the second largest confectionery manufacturer in the world.

Interesting facts about Birmingham as a world leader in science and medicine.

21. Birmingham is the home of great scientists and inventors.

Birmingham was home to some of the greatest scientists and inventors of the industrial era, including Matthew Boulton, James Watt, and William Murdoch, making Birmingham the first industrial city in the world.

Birmingham engineer William Murdoch first discovered gas lighting back in 1792. Originally from Scotland, Murdoch walked more than 300 miles from Scotland to Birmingham to begin working with steam engine manufacturer James Watt. He pioneered the widespread installation of gas street lighting. Birmingham’s first street with gas lighting became known as Gas Street in 1818.

Birmingham chemist Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774

In 1854, Birmingham chemist Thomas Allcock invented a plaster bandage for broken bones.

The first surgery to remove a hole in the heart was performed in 1950 at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, a world-renowned pediatric specialty center.

22. There are five universities in Birmingham.

They include the University of Birmingham, Aston University, Birmingham City University, Newman University, and University College of Birmingham.

University of Birmingham.

For reference:

Interesting Fact #1: Birmingham, Alabama, USA, is named for Birmingham, UK.

During the Reconstruction era after the Civil War, three farm towns merged into one large city. The city’s founders named it after Birmingham, UK, one of the world’s leading industrial cities. Like its namesake, the city developed into a major industrial center based on iron and steel and railroads, and most of the first settlers were of English descent.

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Interesting Fact #2: Birmingham, UK, is 700+ years older than Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

The American city was founded in 1871, whereas the original Birmingham was officially founded in 1166, although the Beorming tribes settled in the area and named it “Beormingham” in 600 AD.

Birmingham was officially founded in 1166.

We hope, dear friends, that our post “Interesting facts about Birmingham, England”, a wonderful English city, will excite your desire to go on a trip to England with the obligatory visit to Birmingham. While getting ready to go, don’t forget to book flights and hotels at your destination in advance. Especially now it’s easy to do directly ON OUR SITE! Don’t miss your chance, it’ll save you effort, time and money!

Birmingham

Birmingham (UK) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Birmingham with descriptions, guides and maps.

City of Birmingham (UK)

Birmingham is Britain’s second largest city and the center of the West Midlands. Once the flagship of the Industrial Revolution it is now a modern metropolis with a vibrant cultural life. Birmingham is a city with an important industrial heritage and rich history, which in Victorian times was nicknamed “the workshop of the world” and “the city of 1000 crafts”. Its most notable feature is considered to be its extensive network of canals, a testament to past industrial development. Birmingham has more canals than Venice or Amsterdam. Unfortunately the historical center of the city was largely destroyed during WWII, and modern architecture has greatly distorted the look of the city.

Things to do (UK):

Tour the Tower of London

£230 per tour.

Tower of London tour

Highlights of British history, the Crows, the Tudors and the Crown Jewels

Masterpieces of the British Museum.

from £125 per guided tour

Masterpieces of the British Museum

Explore the English collections and discover the history behind some of their most interesting pieces.

Geography and climate

Birmingham is located in Central England on a hilly plateau between the Severn and Trent river valleys. The city has a temperate maritime climate with slightly cooler winters and warmer summers than the rest of the UK.

Birmingham

Birmingham

Tourist Info

  1. Population – more than 1.1 million people.
  2. Area – 267.8 km².
  3. Currency – pound sterling.
  4. Language – English.
  5. Time – UTC 0, in summer UTC +1.
  6. The United Kingdom is not a member of the Schengen Agreement. Visas can be obtained by personal visit to accredited visa centers located in Moscow, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don and Yekaterinburg.
  7. Birmingham has a large airport which connects it to major European cities and some North American cities.
  8. Birmingham is a major transportation center in Britain. It is easily accessible by train and bus from London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff.
  9. Birmingham is famous for its jewelry. The jewelry quarter, just north of the city center, contains several hundred small shops and retail stores.
  10. Many cheap eateries can be found in the Bristol Road area.
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History

Birmingham as a settlement was founded in the 6th-7th century. The modern name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, which means “house” or “village”. The first mentions of the city date back to 1166. By the 13th century, Birmingham had become a major trading center and was famous for its fairs.

Birmingham Canals

Birmingham Canals

Birmingham’s heyday begins in the 16th century, when ironworks were built here. By the 18th century the city had become one of the largest industrial centers in England. Birmingham also attracted many famous scientists and engineers who lived and worked here during this period.

Birmingham Canals

Birmingham Canals

In the 20th century, the city became a major center of military industry. This was the reason for the massive bombing of the city by German aircraft, which significantly damaged the historic center.

Sightseeing

Birmingham City Hall

Birmingham City Hall

The historic center of Birmingham was severely destroyed during World War II. It is now a mixture of classic Victorian architecture and modern buildings. One of Birmingham’s most beautiful buildings is the City Hall, considered a masterpiece of 19th century architecture. The impressive structure is reminiscent of an ancient Roman temple and features 40 ornate Corinthian marble columns.

Jewellery Quarter

Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham’s pride and joy, the Jewellery Quarter is an area steeped in tradition, boasting 200 jewellers. There’s also a Jewellers’ Museum.

St Philip's Cathedral

St Philip’s Cathedral

St. Philip’s Cathedral is a cathedral built in the first half of the 18th century. It was destroyed by bombing in the 1940s and rebuilt in 1948.

Birmingham Canals

Birmingham Canals

Birmingham’s canals are a real landmark. The oldest of them date back to the 18th century and were built during the Industrial Revolution. The total length of these waterways is several hundred kilometers, which exceeds the length of the canals of Venice.

Broad Street Presbyterian Church

Broad Street Presbyterian Church

Broad Street Church is a former Presbyterian church built in the mid-19th century.

St Martin's Church

St. Martin’s Church

St. Martin’s Church is an original neo-Gothic building completed in 1855.

Birmingham Museums

  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is one of Britain’s finest cultural sites with superb archaeological finds and works of art from the 17th-19th centuries.
  • Birmingham Science Museum – an interesting collection of steam engines from locomotives to tractors to industrial equipment.
  • National Center for Marine Life – a huge ocean aquarium with a unique underwater tunnel and many other sea-related exhibits.

Excursions of interest

History of London's Coffee & Tea

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History of coffee and tea in London

Discover where and how the culture of tea and coffee drinking originated, and experience the atmosphere of those glorious times

Robert Lewis Stevenson's pictorial notes

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Robert Lewis Stevenson’s pictorial notes

Discover Edinburgh in the pages of the Scottish writer’s works

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