"Birmingham: My Home!" Top 5 Page for this destination Birmingham by Lyndra

Birmingham Travel Guide: 736 reviews and 1,283 photos

Forward: Birmingham's Motto

I live in Birmingham, the UK's second city apparently, in the West Midlands. It is a city that is industrial and yet cosmopolitan, multi cultural and diverse, built up and yet so many green spaces, local shops and internationally acclaimed Bullring Shopping centre, thriving music and arts scene, excellent night life and theatre...it is a city of opposites.

Despised by many and with an accent that holds Brummies up to a certain amount of ridicule and a motorway junction that is both hideous and beautiful at the same time (and as long as you are not trapped on it!) but it's a great place to live and work. My mum and dad came to Birmingham from Ireland in the early 1970's, just in time to have me in fact!!

* Did you know that there are more miles of canals in Birmingham than there are in Venice?
* Did you know that the Council House clock tower is a smaller replica of the Big Ben clock face, we call ours "Big Brum"?
* Did you know that Birmingham has more trees than people (apparently)?
* Did you know that we have one of the largest fountains in Europe (The Floozie in the Jacuzzi)?
* Did you know that he first medical xray was taken in Birmingham in 1896?
* Did you know that the Bull Ring has been the site of a market for well over 800 years?
* Did you know the worlds first Odeon Cinema opened in Birmingham in 1930?
* Did you know that Birmingham City Council is the Largest Local Authority in Europe and has the largest Local Education Authority in the UK?
* Did you know that half of all jewellery made in the UK comes from the Jewellery Quarter in Hockley?
* Did you know that our Annual St Patrick's Day parade is the largest in the UK and the 3rd largest in the world after Dublin and New York?
* Did you know we have the largest Vaisakhi celebrations outside Asia?
* Did you know that our nickname "Brum" comes from the fact that the first 4 wheel petrol driven car in Birmingham was built by a man called F W Lancaster?

A Brief History of Birmingham...

The evidence of prehistoric Birmingham is lvery limited but objects such as stone axes and flint arrowheads found by chance and by flint tools and flintworking debris found during excavation. The quantity of flint found may indicate the location of settlements. A mound in Kingstanding is probably a prehistoric barrow or burial mound. Later prehistoric finds have included bronze axes, approx 40 burnt mounds and an Iron Age farm. This Iron Age farm, circular timber houses in a square ditched enclosure, was found in Sutton Coldfield in excavations along the line of the M6 Toll motorway. The only other evidence for the Iron Age in the city is a few pieces of pottery and glass beads.

There is quite a significant amount of evidence of the Romans in Birmingham. A Roman fort at Metchley (in Edgbaston) from about AD48 and occupied until about AD200, went through many incarnations. In its earliest phases there was a vicus or civilian settlement outside the fort and annexes on its north, east and south sides. Seeds and pollen give us an idea of the food eaten at the fort and settlement. There was an extensive network of Roman roads running through Birmingham including part of the Pershore Road and the road that runs through Sutton Park (built during the Roman conquest if this area). Roman pottery kilns have been found in Perry Barr and Sutton Coldfield. Two Roman settlements have been found only 1km apart in Kings Norton. Remains found in the Bullring show there may have ben a settlement here too.

In the Saxon 6th Century Birmingham was just one small settlement in the Forest of Arden, this was the largest forest in the UK at the time and some of it remains as Sutton Park - Birmingham is: the home (ham) of the tribe (ing) of a leader called Birm or Beorma. In its history it has had many names...Anglo-Saxon tribes started to settle in the region around 700 A.D. Tribes such as the Hwicce and Anglian Mercians started to make the area their permanent home. Evidence of Saxon settlement is afound in some of the name endings of some of Birmingham's well known localities. The suffix -ley means clearing in a forest. So places like Selly, Yardley, Moseley and Warley are likely to have been Saxon clearings

The Domesday book of 1086 values Birmingham manor at £1. The de Bermingham family held the Lordship of the manor of Birmingham for four hundred years from 1150. In 1156 Peter de Birmingham obtained a market charter from Henry II, this saw the beginning of Birmingham as we know it today. In 1250 William de Bermingham obtained permission to hold a four day fair at Whitsun. Developing as a market centre, Birmingham also saw the beginnings of small scale smithing and metal working. Various craftsmen were listed amongst the taxpayers in 1327. When Leland visited Birmingham in 1538 there were only 1500 people in 200.

Birmingham is a fairly fascinating place to live and work :o)

Did you Know....? (More facts to tantalise you!)

Birmingham has been the home or birthplace of many famous people and some of them might surprise you...
* Ozzy Osbourne: Lead singer of Black Sabbath and all round crazy Brummie (Black Sabbath also therefore from Birmingham)
* Duran Duran
* The Charlatans: Formed in Birmingham
* Judas Priest: Formed in Birmingham
* UB40: Formed in Birmingham
* Ocean Colour Scene: Founded in Birmingham
* Dexy's Midmnight Runners: Founded in Birmingham
* Musical Youth: Does anyone remember them??
* Barbara Cartland: Born in Edgbaston
* Sir Arurthur Conan Doyle: Lived and worked in Aston for a time and was once cautioned by the police in Aston! It is said that "The Hound of the Baskervilles" was inspired by John Baskerville!
* J R R Tolkien: Lived at Sarehole Mill, near Moseley, and was inspired to create settings in the rings trilogy based on places he knew in Birmingham (The Shire is Sarehole Mill)
* W H Auden: Lived in Birmingham for a time
* Tony Hancock: Comedian
* Julie Walters: Actress born in Birmingham
* Bill Oddie: Comedian, TV presenter and Ornothologist lived in Birmingham as a child and attended King Edwards school.
* Lenny Henry: Comedian fron Dudley, just up the road!
* Jasper Carrot: Comedian too!
* Frank Skinner: another Comedian from West Bromwich
* James Brindley: Engineer responsible for the planning and construction of many Midland canals
* John Bright MP: Birmingham MP for over 30 years. There is a street in the city centre named after this MP
* Cadbury family: Established the Cadbury factory in Bourneville
* John Priestly: Clergyman and chemist who lived for a short time in Birmingham before being driven out by the Priestly Riots!
* Arthur Chamberlain: Also known as Neville, Mayor of Birmingham and eventual Prime Minister of Great Britain
* Joseph Chamberlain: Birmingham councillor, Mayor and eventual Secretary of State for the Colonies (His son was Neville Chamberlain)
* Samuel Johnson: Once lived in Old Square, Birmingham
* William Murdoch: Came to Birmingham to work. Pioneered gas lighting for domestic use and his house in Birmingham had the first gas lights.
* Major John Hall - Edwards: Pioneer of X-Rays in UK
* Washington Irving: Author of many books/stories including "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" spent many years in Birmingham, staying with his sister and her husband (who was an important character in Birmngham banking/business). Irving Street in Birmingham is named after him.
* James Watt: Partnered Matthew Boulton in the development of steam engines.
* Bishop Francis Asbury: Founder of the American Methodist Church lived in Birmingham before he left for the New World
* Sir Josiah Mason: Founder of Mason College that became the University of Birmingham
* Edward Burne - Jones: Painter, born in Birmingham in 1833
* John Baskerville: Printer and publisher. Baskerville House in Centenary Square stands on the site of his former estate.
* Enoch Powell MP: Born in Birmingham, not our finest hour possibly!
* Denise Lewis: athlete born in West Bromwich
* Nigel Mansell: racing driver born in Solihull
* Richard Hammond: "The hamster" from Top Gear born in Birmingham

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:It's home! It's busy and sophisticated and shaking off its old image at last :-)
  • Intro Updated Mar 7, 2008
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Reviews (23)

Comments (7)

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:58 PM

    Foggs sounds like a nice place where you can try diff dishes from around the world ;-)

  • mikkie50's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2008 at 9:22 AM

    wow lyndra what a minefeild of information on brum :-) welldone. we will have just one clear day &night to explore your city :-( not enough time i know :-)

  • Jul 20, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    hi,great Brum pages,i used to live in Sutton Coldfield,not that far from brum.

  • Jul 20, 2007 at 10:23 AM

    I thought the Hyatt was pants! The Jury's in isn't the most of attractive of buildings! I have to sit there and look at it from my office window - lovely!

  • sue_stone's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2007 at 10:18 AM

    Still haven't made it to Birmingham, though your hotel tips may come in handy when I do!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2007 at 3:17 PM

    Thanks for your bday greetings. Must try to visit Birmingham next time. Cheers, SL

  • Anchovy56's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2007 at 10:24 AM

    Thanks to you too...I think I will choose Ms Hurley for my crush though :o)

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