Birmingham - how it has evolved
Birmingham – known to the people who live there as ‘Brum’ – is the second-largest city in the UK (not Manchester, as people often mistakenly believe). It can trace its history all the way back to the Bronze Age, and there is still a Roman fort there today.
Originally, Birmingham was nothing more than a small farming village, and not a very good one at that – the soil there is of poor quality, and not really much good for farming. As late as the Domesday Book in the 11th century, Birmingham was a tiny village that no-one really paid much attention to.
It was the establishment of a market in 1154 that changed all that. All of a sudden, Birmingham was alive with trade, and started to develop large wool and leather trades. By the 16th century, Birmingham had become a centre of the metal and coal trades, as it was rich in natural materials that could be mined. It was during this time that Birmingham acquired a reputation for high-quality manufacturing, as transport costs to London and the coast forced Birmingham’s traders to go for high quality rather than low prices in order to make a profit.
By 1791, Birmingham was in the full swing of the Industrial Revolution, and was being described as “the first manufacturing town in the world”. Many of the inventions that would drive industry worldwide were first invented or tested in Birmingham, including the steam engine. Birmingham was covered first in canals, and then in railways, and was considered as important as London.
Today, Birmingham is a bustling city – although it is often considered grim compared to other British cities, there are some hidden pockets of greatness. It can be an interesting place to visit, as long as you plan where you’re going and take care not to wander off into the duller parts.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of birmingham guides
For more information on Birmingham check out http://www.birmingham-did-you-know.info