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Birmingham skyline
Birmingham skyline
Coordinates 52 ° 29 ′  N , 1 ° 54 ′  W Coordinates: 52 ° 29 ′  N , 1 ° 54 ′  W
OS National Grid SP066868
Birmingham (England)
Residents 1,141,374 (as of 2018)
surface 267.77 km² (103.39  mi² )
Population density: 4263 inhabitants per km²
ZIP code section B.
prefix +44 0121
Part of the country England
region West Midlands
Shire county West Midlands
District Birmingham
ONS code 00CN
Lord Mayor : Lord Mayor Mohammed Azim
City Council :
80 10 29 
A total of 120 seats
City arms
Canals in the Brindleyplace district
The central shopping street of New Street

Birmingham ([ ˈbœːɐ̯mɪŋəm ], British [ ˈbɜːmɪŋəm ]) is the second largest city in the United Kingdom after London . It is the center of the West Midlands and has a population of just over 1.1 million; around 2.6 million people live in its metropolitan area. Birmingham has the status of a city and a metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of West Midlands .


The city is the center of British metalworking and lies east of the “ Black Country ” - named after the smoking chimneys that concentrated the Industrial Revolution here. Like other cities in the region ( Wolverhampton , Dudley or Coventry ) , however, it has long since transformed into a modern service center with futuristic skyscrapers. The Black Country Living Museum , an open-air museum in Dudley with original houses and craft shops, gives an impression of everyday life .

Birmingham is often called Brum (derived from the old name Brummagem ), and its inhabitants are Brummies . Birmingham is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Britain . A large part of the population comes from the Caribbean , the Indian subcontinent and Ireland . By far the largest ethnic minority are the British Pakistanis , with around 150,000, mainly from the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir . Birmingham is the city where most of the Kashmiri live outside of Kashmir. They almost exclusively speak Punjabi as their first language. The city is where most of the Rastafarians live outside of Jamaica and this is where the third largest St. Patrick's Day parade takes place (after Dublin and New York ). According to a 2001 census, 29.7% of the population belonged to ethnic minorities, including 10.6% from Pakistan , 6.1% from the Caribbean and 5.7% from India .

Millions of tourists visit Birmingham each year and the city has the best shopping in the country after London's West End . The appearance of the city, once dominated by huge gray industrial plants, has been noticeably refreshed and embellished in recent years.

Birmingham is part of the City of West Midlands . Neighboring cities are Solihull and Coventry in the east and the metropolitan counties of Sandwell , Dudley , Walsall and Wolverhampton in the west and northwest, which are part of the Black Country .

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: WMO
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Birmingham
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 6.0 6.2 8.9 11.9 15.3 18.8 20.6 20.1 17.6 13.8 9.2 7.1 O 13
Min. Temperature (° C) 0.3 0.1 1.5 3.3 6.0 9.2 11.1 10.8 8.8 6.2 2.9 1.3 O 5.2
Precipitation ( mm ) 56 48 52 48 55 57 47 67 54 53 59 66 Σ 662
Rainy days ( d ) 16.7 12.8 15.9 14.1 15.2 12.6 11.7 13.5 12.4 13.4 15.5 15.7 Σ 169.5
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WMO


Ancient and early Middle Ages

Small farming villages already existed in the region around Birmingham during the Bronze Age . At the time of the Roman Empire (↗ Great Britain in Roman times ) an important road ran through Birmingham and a Roman camp existed in what is now the southern suburbs. A small Roman settlement ( vicus ) has also been excavated.

After the retreat of the Romans, the area around Birmingham was only sparsely populated, as the poor quality of the soil did not allow productive agriculture . The present urban area was mostly forested.

The name Birmingham comes from the Anglo-Saxon Beormaham (village of the Beorma clan). Beorma was believed to be a local tribal leader. It later became Brummagem and finally Birmingham. In the Digbeth area of ​​the city center, street names such as Rea Street today indicate that a settlement at a ford through the River Rea in this area was the nucleus of Birmingham.

middle Ages

After England was conquered by the Normans , the area became a fiefdom of the de Birmingham family , who built a small farming settlement there. In the Domesday Book , Birmingham is mentioned as a relatively unimportant village with a value of just 20 shillings.

In 1154 the feudal lord Peter de Birmingham received the right to hold markets . The market, called the Bull Ring, enabled the rise from a tiny, insignificant farming village to a prosperous trading center. As early as 1300, Birmingham was the third largest settlement in the county of Warwickshire , behind Coventry and Warwick . The de Birmingham family controlled the area until 1527 when the Duke of Northumberland took over the fiefdom.

Start of industrialization

From the 15th century onwards, Birmingham became the center of numerous metalworking companies and the manufacture of weapons ( swords and rifles ). The inland location of Birmingham, far from the sea trade routes, meant that goods of high quality had to be produced in order to have a chance on the export market. The name Birmingham soon became synonymous with quality.

The arms trade was mainly boosted by the English Civil War . In 1642, Birmingham was ravaged by royal troops. Because of this, the city joined the parliamentarians' cause and supplied weapons to their army. No less than 15,000 swords are said to have been produced for Oliver Cromwell's troops .

The industrial revolution

The well-trained labor force and the fact that Birmingham near the coal fields of Warwickshire and Staffordshire was, had the consequence that the city grew rapidly. By the end of the 18th century, Birmingham was Warwickshire's largest city.

Around 1800 an extensive network of was Narrowboat - channels built that further favored the growth of the city. In the 1830s, rail lines to Liverpool , Manchester and London were built. Birmingham New Street became one of the most important train stations in the country.

By 1850, Birmingham was already the second largest city in the country. It became the location of numerous industrial production facilities, such as B. the important British vehicle and armaments manufacturer BSA , and was soon given the nickname City of a thousand trades because of the huge range of goods that were produced here . However, the many industrial facilities made the city a gray, unhealthy and unfriendly place. In 1896, Birmingham was granted city rights . Between 1889 and 1911 the suburbs of Aston, Edgbaston, Erdington, Handsworth, Kings Norton, Northfield and Yardley were incorporated.

20th century

During the First and Second World Wars , a wide variety of armaments were manufactured in Birmingham: ammunition, armored springs, steel helmets and mines. Fighter and bomber planes were also built ( Hawker Hurricane , Avro Lancaster , Supermarine Spitfire ).

The city suffered great damage from bombing by the German air force during World War II .

After the end of the war, many of the run-down working-class neighborhoods were demolished as some of them had developed into slums . Large parts of the city including the city center were rebuilt. After a local reform in 1974, the suburb of Sutton Coldfield was incorporated and Birmingham became an independent city .

A large wave of immigration began in 1950. Many people from the Commonwealth of Nations moved to Birmingham and the surrounding area. A second surge of immigration came from 1980, this time from people from Kosovo and Somalia . Conflicts between minorities and the police led to race riots in 1985.

Since the 1970s, Birmingham has been transforming from an industrial to a service city. Brindleyplace is one of the symbols of this urban renewal . The National Exhibition Center, the largest exhibition center in the country, was built next to the airport . It is interesting here that neither the airport nor the exhibition center actually belong to Birmingham, but to the neighboring city of Solihull . A G8 summit took place in Birmingham in 1998 . In 1999 the worldwide IUGG Congress took place here. Birmingham ran unsuccessfully as European Capital of Culture 2008.

Development of the population
year Residents
1550 1,500
1650 5,000
1750 24,000
1800 80,000
1900 522,800
1981 1,013,431
2002 990,000
2005 1,001,200
2009 1,012,010
2010 1,036,900


During the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham and the surrounding areas flourished. The factories made swords, cannons, pistols, watches, jewelry, railroad cars and steam engines.

The Gun Quarter (German "Waffenviertel") is a district of Birmingham that was a center of the world's arms industry for many years. The first recorded pistol manufacturer in Birmingham was in 1630, and locally made muskets were used in the English Civil War . It is an industrial area to the north of the city center, bounded by Steelhouse Lane, Shadwell Street and Loveday Street, specializing in the manufacture of military firearms and sporting weapons . Following the major urban development plan of 2008, the Guns Quarter is now a district within Birmingham City Center. Many buildings in the area are not in use, but there are plans for redevelopment, including on Shadwell Street and Vesey Street.

Although Birmingham is over 100 kilometers from the sea, ships were even made here; the prefabricated parts were then put together on the coast.

Midland Bank opened its first branch in 1836 . It was one of the largest banks in the country and is now part of the HSBC group. Until 2003 , coins were made at the Birmingham Mint, the world's oldest independent mint . Birmingham is a center of the beer and chocolate industry. Until the MG Rover Group went bankrupt in 2005, MG and Rover cars were produced in the Longbridge district.

Although industry still plays an important role, its former importance is slowly but surely being surpassed by the service sector; the financial sector and tourism are also becoming increasingly important.

According to a study from 2014, the Greater Birmingham area has a gross domestic product of 121.1 billion US dollars (KKB), making it the country's second largest economic center. In the ranking of the economically strongest metropolitan regions worldwide, he came 112th. The GDP per capita was $ 31,571. A total of 1.8 million people are employed in the metropolitan area.


The main station of Birmingham, New Street , is considered the largest railway hub in Britain. Trains run to all major cities in the country. New Street is served by the railroad companies Transport for Wales / Trafnidiaeth Cymru (regional transport to Wales), CrossCountry , London Midland (regional transport, interregional transport) and Virgin Trains (long-distance transport to the north and south, especially London). Chiltern Railways (regional service from London) does not run to New Street, but does serve the nearby Snow Hill and Moor Street stations, among others .

The Midland Metro is a low-floor light rail system that connects Birmingham with neighboring cities, Wednesbury , West Bromwich and Wolverhampton . Expansions in the city center are under construction; more are planned, including after Dudley . Urban bus transport is largely deregulated .

Birmingham is the junction of several highways that surround the city. The respective sections are the M42 Motorway on the south and east sides, M6 Motorway on the north side and M5 Motorway on the west side. The Gravelly Hill interchange, northeast of the city, is jokingly called "Spaghetti Junction" because of its complexity. From here the Motorway A38 (M) , a seven-lane motorway without a median, leads into town. In 2003 the first toll motorway in Great Britain was opened north of the city with the Motorway M6 Toll , which serves as a bypass for Birmingham and the surrounding agglomeration.

In the east of the city is the Birmingham International Airport , from which flights to all of Europe and to New York are offered and which is connected to the rail network.

Although Birmingham is at no great river, however, the hub of the Middle English Narrowboat - channel system . Within the city limits there are canals with a total length of 60 kilometers. It is often said that Birmingham has more canals than Venice (although the city area is also quite a bit larger). Many canals had become impassable over time, but have been repaired since the 1980s and are now popular tourist attractions with numerous bars and restaurants.


Birmingham is home to two of England's oldest and most prestigious football clubs, Aston Villa (founded in 1874) and Birmingham City (founded in 1875). Birmingham City is currently only second-rate, Aston Villa made it back to the Premier League in the 2018/19 season. England's first professional football league was founded on March 22, 1885 in what is now Aston.

Birmingham is also a center for British athletics . For example, the city hosted the 9th European Junior Athletics Championships , the World Indoor Championships in 2003 and 2018, and the European Indoor Championships in 2007. Other popular sports include golf , rugby , basketball , boxing , cricket , hockey, and badminton .

The Birmingham Bulls are one of the oldest English American football clubs and four-time British champions.

In 1927 the final of the first World Snooker Championship took place in Camkin's Hall . It was organized by Bill Camkin and the later first world champion Joe Davis .

The Birmingham Brummies are among the best British teams to compete in the Speedway Elite League .

From 1986 to 1990 the Birmingham Superprix took place annually in Birmingham , a racing event on a closed-off street circuit . The Superprix was part of the International Formula 3000 Championship , while accompanying races were held as part of the British Touring Car Championship and the British Formula Ford .


Rock and pop music

Heavy metal developed in Birmingham in the late 1960s with bands such as Black Sabbath , Judas Priest , Magnum , The Fortunes , The Move . The band Napalm Death is also from Birmingham.

The company Brad Matic based in Birmingham developed and manufactured the Mellotron ago, one of the first usable synthesizer , which exerted a significant influence on the rock music of the time.

Numerous blues and progressive rock bands began their careers in Birmingham, including The Spencer Davis Group , The Moody Blues , Traffic and Electric Light Orchestra .

Various well-known singers and songwriters also come from Birmingham or began their careers there, including Martin Lancelot Barre , Steve Winwood , Carl Palmer (from Emerson, Lake and Palmer ), Phil Lynott (from Thin Lizzy ), Jeff Lynne , Ozzy Osbourne and Joan Armatrading .

After the wave of immigration from the Caribbean in the 1970s, reggae music became increasingly important; the best-known representatives are UB40 and Steel Pulse .

In the 1980s, other bands from Birmingham such as Duran Duran or Dexys Midnight Runners became world famous.

In the 1990s, Birmingham became the center of British hip hop , house and Indian-influenced bhangra .

Popular venues for pop and rock concerts are the NEC Arena and the National Indoor Arena .

The 1998 Eurovision Song Contest was held in the National Indoor Arena .

Classical music

Birmingham has two well-known classical institutions, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and the Birmingham Royal Ballet . At the CBSO, Simon Rattle worked as a conductor and conductor from 1980 to 1998, when he no longer wanted to renew his contract due to the poor financial resources of the orchestra. From 1784 to 1912 the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival took place, which was then considered the best music festival in Great Britain. Famous composers such as Mendelssohn and Dvořák wrote new compositions especially for this festival.


Some famous writers lived and wrote in Birmingham:

Culture in general

The public library, 2012
The Rotunda skyscraper prior to renovation in 2006–2007
Selfridge construction

Birmingham has numerous theaters and art museums . The city also pioneered graffiti and hip-hop culture. Numerous major cultural events take place here, for example the third largest parade in the world on St. Patrick's Day (after Dublin and New York), the military show "Birmingham Tattoo" or the Birmingham Film Festival. Since the end of the 19th century, the Crufts dog show has been taking place in Birmingham, one of the world's largest and oldest fairs of its kind.

At Christmas there is a Frankfurt market in the city center. There v. a. German dishes and Frankfurt specialties are sold, as well as other products from Germany such as works of art, jewelry and clothing.

The Library of Birmingham public library opened on September 3, 2013.



Birmingham has four universities : the University of Birmingham , Newman University , Aston University and Birmingham City University (formerly University of Central England , before that Birmingham Polytechnic ). The latter two planned to merge, but Aston ultimately voted against it. Established 100 years ago, the Birmingham Conservatoire in Birmingham is one of the most prestigious conservatories in the country. In 2017 the Birmingham School of Acting (formerly the Birmingham School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art ) became part of the Conservatory.


Main article: List of personalities from the city of Birmingham

Twin cities

Web links

Commons : Birmingham  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Birmingham  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Mid 2018 Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  2. lordmayor on
  3. Duden | Birmingham | Spelling, meaning, definition. Retrieved July 7, 2018 .
  4. Birmingham definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved July 7, 2018 .
  5. ^ Tamlyn Jones: New 21-story apartment block set for Birmingham city center . In: birminghampost . November 9, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  6. ^ Tamlyn Jones: Plans revealed for 24-storey student flats complex . In: birminghampost . October 24, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  7. ^ Alan Berube, Jesus Leal Trujillo, Tao Ran, and Joseph Parilla: Global Metro Monitor . In: Brookings . January 22, 2015 ( [accessed July 19, 2018]).
  8. Library of Birmingham: Official opening of £ 189m building (English) . In: BBC News . Retrieved September 3, 2013.