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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Birmingham

Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era. After the Norman Conquest, Birmingham passed into the possession of the Bermingham family, and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086), valued at 20 shillings.

By the end of the 13th century, a market town had grown up around the Bull Ring, the meeting point of several roads. Birmingham remained in the hands of the Bermingham family until 1527, when John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, gained control of the town.

The first building society was set up in Birmingham in 1775.

Birmingham grew to international prominence in the 18th century at the heart of the Midlands Enlightenment , which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide developments in science, technology and economic organisation, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world."

John Cadbury first began selling tea, coffee and later chocolate on Birmingham’s Bull Street. He was listed in the 1828-29 Directory of Warwickshire as a tea dealer.

Birmingham was not represented in parliament until 1832.

Birmingham became a borough, electing its first town council in 1838, and it was made a city in 1889.


Until the ballpoint was invented in 1938, Birmingham led the world in pen nib production. In the 1850s, Birmingham produced half of all the world’s pens.

There are many miles of restored canal walks, with Birmingham known as ‘Britain's Canal City’. The city is often noted for having more miles of canal than Venice.




The Birmingham Mint (1850) is the oldest continuously operating mint in the country, and is still the biggest private mint in the UK.

Birmingham is the second-largest city in the UK with 1,073,000 residents (2011 census).


Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction, officially the Gravelly Hill Interchange, serves 18 routes on five levels, as well as crossing a canal, two railways and a river.

Birmingham City Council is the largest local authority in Europe with 120 councillors representing 40 wards.


Sutton Park covering 2,400 acres is the largest urban nature reserve in Europe.

Birmingham Central Library is the largest non-national library in Europe.

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.


 

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