About Birmingham


Situated in the west midlands and known as England's second city, Birmingham is home to nearly a million people and a huge diversity of cultures with ethnic minorities making up nearly a third of the population.

Growing from its roots as an insignificant Anglo-Saxon farming community, although evidence of an earlier Roman settlement exists, this blossoming town was recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1068.

By the 12th century the town's 'Bull Ring' market, as it was known, was thriving and its central location became key to its further success as a trading post.

Once deposits of iron ore were discovered in the region in the 16th century Birmingham became a centre of industry, manufacturing weaponry for Cromwell's troops during the English Civil War and henceforth gaining a reputation for metalwork in general and gun-making in particular.

When the Industrial Revolution came to Birmingham the city was virtually taken over by factories and mills, some of the country's first canals were constructed in the area - it is said that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice - and the early railways were linking the city to the rest of the country.

Manufacturing became big business for the city in its heyday, with the Birmingham Mint operating from the city's Jewellery Quarter, and the steam engine being created by James Watt in the city.

The city's industrial heritage survives to this day, in that Birmingham is still a base for engineering and manufacturing when these are struggling sectors elsewhere, in fact a huge proportion of UK exports come from the area.

The city also has a variety of sporting venues and clubs to offer: Premiership clubs Birmingham City and Aston Villa; Edgebaston cricket ground, home of Warwickshire; the National Indoor Arena, which recently hosted the World Indoor Athletics Championships.