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Birmingham

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This article is about Birmingham, England; see also Birmingham, Alabama and other towns called Birmingham
Birmingham, which has a population of 1,013,431, is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom, after London. Situated in the West Midlands.

Birmingham along with the neighboring city of Wolverhampton and the Black Country and a number of surrounding towns, forms the largest part of an urban conurbation of around 2.3 million people.

This conurbation is an industrial centre, home to the Jaguar and MG Rover Group car companies. Coins are manufactured at the Birmingham Mint, the oldest independent mint in the world.

While manufacturing is still important to the city, and to its future, the local economy is rapidly diversifying; in particular, professional and financial services and tourism are growing quickly. More details about the Birmingham economy can be found at http://www.birminghameconomy.org.uk

The bands UB40 and Duran Duran both originated in Birmingham.

Birmingham is home to three professional football (soccer) teams: Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. The National Indoor Arena, The Symphony Hall (home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) and the International Convention Centre are located in central Birmingham. The National Exhibtion Centre[?] is 10 miles southeast of the centre, close to Birmingham International Airport.

Birmingham has three universities: Aston University, The University of Birmingham and The University of Central England[?].

Once considered the ugliest city in Britain, Birmingham has in recent years been renovated, with the city centre now a more attractive and pleasant place to walk around. There are 35 miles of canals within the Birmingham city boundaries. By comparison there are 26 miles of canals within the centre of Venice (that is, within the six sestieri[?]). The area around Broad Street was extensively renovated at the turn of the Millennium, making it possible to walk beside the canals. As of 2003 further redevelopment is taking place on the site of the Bull Ring. The city is bidding to become the European Capital of Culture in 2008, under the banner "Be in Birmingham 2008".

Birmingham is governed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in the UK.

The city is commonly known to its inhabitants as Brum and its inhabitants known as Brummies. Birmingham residents also speak with a distinctive Brummie accent.

See also: Balsall Heath, Black Country, Moseley

History

Birmingham came into existence in the year 1154 when a local landowner called Peter de Birmingham[?] obtained a charter to hold a market, a settlement grew up around this market named Birmingham after its founder.

The market was called the Bull Ring and was the centre of all activity in what was then a village. Birmingham became a Borough in the early 13th century.

From the 16th century onwards Birmingham became a centre of many metalworking industries, with a skilled population of Ironmongers[?]. Birmingham also became a centre of arms manufacturing, with Guns and Swords being produced in the then town.

Birmingham's skilled workforce, and the fact that Birmingham was located near the coalfields of Staffordshire. Meant that the town grew rapidly during the Industrial revolution.In the late 18th and early 19th century Birmingham became a centre of the canal system, which greatly aided its industrial growth.

In the 1830s the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway were built and Birmingham soon became a centre of the railway system, and one of Britains leading industrial cities.

Population Growth in Birmingham by year

During the 19th century Birmingham's population mushroomed and by the middle of the 19th century Birmingham had become the second largest population centre in Britain. It was also during the 19th century that Birmingham gained its reputation (which lasted until quite recently) as a grim industrial city.

Birmingham became a county borough in 1889, and a city in 1896.

During the 20th century Birmingham's population continued to rise. In the postwar years a massive program of slum clearances took place, and vast areas of the city were re-built, with overcrowded "back to back" housing being replaced by high rise blocks of flats[?]. The city centre was also extensively re-built. Birmingham also became a centre of the national Motorway network.

Diversity

Also in the postwar years a major influx if immigrants from the British Commonwealth changed the face of Birmingham, with large communities from Southern Asia and the Caribbean settling in the city, turning Birmingham into one of the UK's leading multicultural cities. Since the early 1980s Birmingham has seen a new wave of migration, this time from communities which do not have Commonwealth roots, including people from Kosovo and Somalia. Birmingham's reputation as a city built on migration looks to continue. If Birmingham ended the last century as a Commonwealth city, the future diversity of the City is set to be global.

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