EtymologyThe name ''Birmingham'' comes from the ''Beormingahām'', meaning the home or settlement of the '' Beormingas'' – a tribe or clan whose name literally means "Beorma's people" and which may have formed an early unit of Anglo-Saxon administration. , after whom the tribe was named, could have been its leader at the time of the Anglo-Saxon settlement, a shared ancestor, or a mythical tribal figurehead. Place names ending in ''-ingahām'' are characteristic of primary settlements established during the early phases of Anglo-Saxon colonisation of an area, suggesting that Birmingham was probably in existence by the early 7th century at the latest. Surrounding settlements with names ending in ''-tūn'' (farm), ''-lēah'' (woodland clearing), ''-worð'' (enclosure) and ''-field'' (open ground) are likely to be secondary settlements created by the later expansion of the Anglo-Saxon population, in some cases possibly on earlier sites.
Pre-history and medievalThere is evidence of activity in the Birmingham area dating back to around 8000 BC, with artefacts suggesting seasonal settlements, overnight hunting parties and woodland activities such as tree felling. The many s that can still be seen around the city indicate that first intensively settled and cultivated the area during the , when a substantial but short-lived influx of population occurred between 1700 BC and 1000 BC, possibly caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area. During the 1st-century , the forested country of the Birmingham Plateau formed a barrier to the advancing Roman legions, who built the large in the area of modern-day in AD 48, and made it the focus of a network of . The development of Birmingham into a significant urban and commercial centre began in 1166, when the Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter to hold a market at his castle, and followed this with the creation of a planned and seigneurial borough within his '' '' or manorial estate, around the site that became the Bull Ring. This established Birmingham as the primary commercial centre for the Birmingham Plateau at a time when the area's economy was expanding rapidly, with population growth nationally leading to the clearance, cultivation and settlement of previously marginal land. Within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years.
Early modernThe principal governing institutions of medieval Birmingham – including the and the lordship of the de Birmingham family – collapsed between 1536 and 1547, leaving the town with an unusually high degree of social and economic freedom and initiating a period of transition and growth. By 1700 Birmingham's population had increased fifteen-fold and the town was the fifth-largest in England and Wales. The importance of the manufacture of goods to Birmingham's economy was recognised as early as 1538, and grew rapidly as the century progressed. Equally significant was the town's emerging role as a centre for the iron merchants who organised finance, supplied raw materials and traded and marketed the industry's products. By the 1600s Birmingham formed the commercial hub of a network of s and s stretching from to and its merchants were selling finished manufactured goods as far afield as the . These trading links gave Birmingham's metalworkers access to much wider markets, allowing them to diversify away from lower-skilled trades producing basic goods for local sale, towards a broader range of specialist, higher-skilled and more lucrative activities. By the time of the Birmingham's booming economy, its expanding population, and its resulting high levels of and , had seen it develop new social structures very different from those of more established areas. Relationships were built around pragmatic commercial linkages rather than the rigid paternalism and deference of , and loyalties to the traditional hierarchies of the and were weak. The town's reputation for and its strongly sympathies saw it attacked by forces in the Battle of Birmingham in 1643, and it developed into a centre of in the 1630s and as a haven for Nonconformists from the 1660s. The 18th century saw this tradition of free-thinking and collaboration blossom into the cultural phenomenon now known as the . The town developed into a notable centre of , , and activity; and its leading citizens – particularly the members of the – became influential participants in the circulation of and ideas among Europe's intellectual elite. The close relationship between Enlightenment Birmingham's leading thinkers and its major manufacturers – in men like and they were often in fact the same people – made it particularly important for the exchange of knowledge between pure science and the practical world of manufacturing and technology. This created a "chain reaction of innovation", forming a pivotal link between the earlier and the that would follow.
Industrial RevolutionBirmingham's explosive industrial expansion started earlier than that of the textile-manufacturing towns of the , and was driven by different factors. Instead of the of a low-paid, unskilled workforce producing a single bulk such as cotton or wool in large, mechanised units of production, Birmingham's industrial development was built on the adaptability and creativity of a highly paid workforce with a strong , practising a broad variety of skilled specialist trades and producing a constantly diversifying range of products, in a highly economy of small, often self-owned workshops. This led to exceptional levels of inventiveness: between 1760 and 1850 – the core years of the – Birmingham residents registered over three times as many s as those of any other British town or city. The demand for to feed rapid economic expansion also saw Birmingham grow into a major with extensive international connections. was founded in the town in 1765, and Ketley's Building Society, the world's first , in 1775. By 1800 the West Midlands had more banking offices per head than any other region in Britain, including London. Innovation in 18th-century Birmingham often took the form of incremental series of small-scale improvements to existing products or processes, but also included major developments that lay at the heart of the emergence of . In 1709 the Birmingham-trained moved to in and built the first to successfully smelt iron ore with coke, transforming the quality, volume and scale on which it was possible to produce . In 1732 and John Wyatt invented roller spinning, the "one novel idea of the first importance" in the development of the mechanised cotton industry. In 1741 they opened the world's first cotton mill in Birmingham's Upper Priory. In 1746 invented the , enabling the large-scale manufacture of , and in 1780 developed a process for the bulk manufacture of , together marking the birth of the modern . In 1765 opened the , pioneering the combination and mechanisation under one roof of previously separate manufacturing activities through a system known as "rational manufacture". As the largest manufacturing unit in , this came to symbolise the emergence of the . Most significant, however, was the development in 1776 of the industrial steam engine by and . Freeing for the first time the manufacturing capacity of human society from the limited availability of hand, water and animal power, this was arguably the pivotal moment of the entire and a key factor in the worldwide increases in productivity over the following century.
Regency and VictorianBirmingham rose to national political prominence in the campaign for political reform in the early 19th century, with Thomas Attwood and the bringing the country to the brink of civil war during the that preceded the passing of the in 1832. The Union's meetings on in 1831 and 1832 were the largest political assemblies Britain had ever seen. , who drafted the Act, wrote that "the country owed Reform to Birmingham, and its salvation from revolution". This reputation for having "shaken the fabric of privilege to its base" in 1832 led to make Birmingham the platform for his successful campaign for the of 1867, which extended voting rights to the urban working class. Birmingham's tradition of innovation continued into the 19th century. Birmingham was the terminus for both of the world's first two long-distance railway lines: the 82-mile of 1837 and the 112-mile of 1838. Birmingham schoolteacher invented the and created the first modern universal in 1839. invented the first man-made in the in 1855. By the 1820s, an extensive canal system had been constructed, giving greater access to natural resources and fuel for industries. During the , the population of Birmingham grew rapidly to well over half a million and Birmingham became the second largest population centre in England. Birmingham was granted in 1889 by . , mayor of Birmingham and later an MP, and his son , who was Lord Mayor of Birmingham and later the British Prime Minister, are two of the most well-known political figures who have lived in Birmingham. The city established in 1900.
20th century and contemporaryThe city suffered heavy bomb damage during 's " ". The city was also the scene of two scientific discoveries that were to prove critical to the outcome of the war. and first described how a practical could be constructed in the Frisch–Peierls memorandum of 1940, the same year that the , the key component of and later of s, was invented by John Randall and . Details of these two discoveries, together with an outline of the first invented by in nearby , were taken to the United States by the in September 1940, in a single black box later described by an official American historian as "the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores". The city was extensively redeveloped during the 1950s and 1960s. This included the construction of large estates, such as . The Bull Ring was reconstructed and New Street station was redeveloped. In the decades following World War II, the ethnic makeup of Birmingham changed significantly, as it received waves of immigration from the Commonwealth of Nations and beyond. The city's population peaked in 1951 at 1,113,000 residents. 21 people were killed and 182 were injured in Birmingham pub bombings, a series of bomb attacks in 1974, thought to be carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Provisional IRA. The bombings were the worst terror attacks in England up until the 2005 London bombings and consisted of bombs being planted in two Public house, pubs in central Birmingham. Birmingham Six, Six men were convicted, who became known later as the Birmingham Six and sentenced to life imprisonment, who were acquitted after 16 years by the Court of Appeal (England and Wales), Court of Appeal. The convictions are now considered one of the worst British miscarriages of justice in recent times. The true perpetrators of the attacks are yet to be arrested.''The Birmingham Framework -Six Innocent Men Framed for the Birmingham Bombings''; Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray (1976) Birmingham remained by far Britain's most prosperous provincial city as late as the 1970s, with household incomes exceeding even those of London and the South East, but its economic diversity and capacity for regeneration declined in the decades that followed World War II as Government of the United Kingdom, Central Government sought to restrict the city's growth and disperse industry and population to the stagnating areas of Wales and Northern England. These measures hindered "the natural self-regeneration of businesses in Birmingham, leaving it top-heavy with the old and infirm", and the city became increasingly dependent on the Automotive industry in the United Kingdom, motor industry. The Early 1980s recession, recession of the early 1980s saw Birmingham's economy collapse, with unprecedented levels of unemployment and 1985 Handsworth riots, outbreaks of social unrest in inner-city districts. Recently, many parts of Birmingham have been transformed, with the redevelopment of the Bullring, Birmingham, Bullring Shopping Centre, the construction of the new Library of Birmingham (the largest public library in Europe) and the regeneration of old industrial areas such as Brindleyplace, The Mailbox and the International Convention Centre, Birmingham, International Convention Centre. Old streets, buildings and canals have been restored, the pedestrian subways have been removed and the A4400 road, Inner Ring Road has been rationalised. In 1998 Birmingham hosted the 24th G8 summit. The city will serve as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
GovernmentBirmingham City Council is the largest local authority in Europe, in terms of the population it covers with 101 councillors representing 77 ward (politics), wards as of 2018. Its headquarters are at the Council House, Birmingham, Council House in Victoria Square, Birmingham, Victoria Square. , the council has a Labour Party (UK), Labour Party majority and is led by Ian Ward. Labour replaced the previous no overall control status at the May 2012 elections. The honour and dignity of a Lord Mayors of Birmingham, Lord Mayoralty was conferred on Birmingham by Letters Patent on 3 June 1896. Birmingham's ten Constituency, parliamentary constituencies are represented in the British House of Commons, House of Commons by two Conservative Party (UK), Conservative and eight Labour Party (UK), Labour Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), MPs. Originally part of , Birmingham expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, absorbing parts of Worcestershire to the south and Staffordshire to the north and west. The city absorbed Sutton Coldfield in 1974 and became a metropolitan borough in the new West Midlands (county), West Midlands county. A top-level government body, the West Midlands Combined Authority, was formed in April 2016. The WMCA holds devolved powers in transport, development planning, and economic growth. The authority is governed by a Mayor of West Midlands, directly elected mayor, similar to the Mayor of London.
GeographyBirmingham is located in the centre of the West Midlands region of England on the Birmingham Plateau – an area of relatively high ground, ranging between Above mean sea level, above sea level and crossed by Britain's main north–south water divide, watershed between the basins of the Rivers and River Trent, Trent. To the south west of the city lie the Lickey Hills, Clent Hills and Walton Hill, which reach and have extensive views over the city. Birmingham is drained only by minor rivers and brooks, primarily the River Tame and its tributaries the River Cole, West Midlands, Cole and the River Rea, Rea. The City of Birmingham forms a conurbation with the largely residential borough of Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, Solihull to the south east, and with the city of Wolverhampton and the industrial towns of the Black Country to the north west, which form the West Midlands Built-up Area covering . Surrounding this is Birmingham's metropolitan area – the area to which it is closely economically tied through commuting – which includes the former Mercian capital of Tamworth, Staffordshire, Tamworth and the cathedral city of Lichfield in Staffordshire to the north; the industrial city of Coventry and the towns of Nuneaton, Warwick and Leamington Spa to the east; and the Worcestershire towns of Redditch and Bromsgrove to the south west. Much of the area now occupied by the city was originally a northern reach of the ancient Forest of Arden, whose former presence can still be felt in the city's dense oak tree-cover and in the large number of districts such as Moseley, Saltley, Yardley, Birmingham, Yardley, Stirchley, West Midlands, Stirchley and Hockley, Birmingham, Hockley with names ending in "-ley": the ''-'' meaning "woodland clearing".
GeologyBirmingham is dominated by the Birmingham Fault, which runs diagonally through the city from the Lickey Hills in the south west, passing through and the Bull Ring, to Erdington and Sutton Coldfield in the north east. To the south and east of the fault the ground is largely softer Mercia Mudstone Group, Mercia Mudstone, interspersed with beds of Bunter (geology), Bunter pebbles and crossed by the valleys of the Rivers River Tame, West Midlands, Tame, River Rea, Rea and River Cole, West Midlands, Cole and their tributaries. To the north and west of the fault, between higher than the surrounding area and underlying much of the city centre, lies a long ridge of harder Keuper Sandstone. The bedrock underlying Birmingham was mostly laid down during the Permian and Triassic periods.
ClimateBirmingham has a temperate Oceanic climate, maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with average maximum temperatures in summer (July) being around ; and in winter (January) around . Between 1971 and 2000 the warmest day of the year on average was and the coldest night typically fell to . Some 11.2 days each year rose to a temperature of or above and 51.6 nights reported an air frost. The highest recorded temperature, set during August 1990, was . Like most other large cities, Birmingham has a considerable urban heat island effect. During the coldest night recorded, 14 January 1982, the temperature fell to at Birmingham Airport on the city's eastern edge, but just at , near the city centre. Birmingham is a snowy city relative to other large UK conurbations, due to its inland location and comparatively high elevation. Between 1961 and 1990 Birmingham Airport averaged 13.0 days of snow lying annually, compared to 5.33 at Heathrow Airport, London Heathrow. Snow showers often pass through the city via the Cheshire Plain, Cheshire gap on north westerly airstreams, but can also come off the North Sea from north easterly airstreams. Extreme weather is rare, but the city has been known to experience tornadoes. On 23 November 1981, during a record-breaking 1981 United Kingdom tornado outbreak, nationwide tornado outbreak, two tornadoes touched down within the Birmingham city limits – in Erdington and Selly Oak – with six tornadoes touching down within the boundaries of the wider county. More recently, a destructive tornado occurred in Birmingham Tornado (UK), July 2005 in the south of the city, damaging homes and businesses in the area.
EnvironmentThere are 571 parks within Birmingham – more than any other European city – totalling over of public open space. The city has over six million trees, and of urban brooks and streams. Sutton Park, West Midlands, Sutton Park, which covers in the north of the city, is the largest urban park in Europe and a national nature reserves in England, national nature reserve. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, located close to the city centre, retains the Regency era, regency landscape of its original design by J. C. Loudon in 1829, while the Winterbourne Botanic Garden in reflects the more informal Arts and Crafts Movement, Arts and Crafts tastes of its Edwardian era, Edwardian origins. Several green spaces within the borough are designated as Green belt (United Kingdom), green belt, as a portion of the wider West Midlands Green Belt. This is a strategic local government policy used to prevent urban sprawl and preserve greenfield land. Areas included are the aforementioned Sutton Park; land along the borough boundary by the Sutton Coldfield, Walmley and Minworth suburbs; Kingfisher, Sheldon, Woodgate Valley country parks; grounds by the Wake Green football club; Bartley and Frankley reservoirs; and Handsworth cemetery with surrounding golf courses. Birmingham has many areas of wildlife that lie in both informal settings such as the Kingfisher Country Park, Project Kingfisher and Woodgate Valley Country Park and in a selection of parks such as Lickey Hills Country Park, Pype Hayes Park & Newhall Valley, Handsworth Park, Kings Heath Park, and Cannon Hill Park, the latter also housing the mini zoo, Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.
DemographicsThe 2012 mid-year estimate for the population of Birmingham was 1,085,400. This was an increase of 11,200, or 1.0%, since the same time in 2011. Since 2001, the population has grown by 99,500, or 10.1%. Birmingham is the largest local Authority area and city in the UK outside of London. The population density is 10,391 inhabitants per square mile (4,102/km2) compared to the 976.9 inhabitants per square mile (377.2/km2) for England. Based on the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 UK Census, Birmingham's population is projected to reach 1,160,100 by 2021, an increase of 8.0%. This compares with an estimated rate of 9.1% for the previous decade. The West Midlands conurbation had a population of 2,441,00 (2011 est.,), and 2,762,700 people live in the West Midlands (county) (2012 est.,). According to figures from the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 UK Census, 57.9% of the population was White people, White (53.1% White British, 2.1% Irish migration to Great Britain, White Irish, 2.7% Other White), 4.4% of Mixed (United Kingdom ethnicity category), mixed race (2.3% White and Black Caribbean, 0.3% White and Black African, 1.0% White and Asian, 0.8% Other Mixed), 26.6% British Asian, Asian (13.5% British Pakistanis, Pakistani, 6.0% British Indian, Indian, 3.0% British Bangladeshi, Bangladeshi, 1.2% British Chinese, Chinese, 2.9% Other Asian), 8.9% Black British, Black (2.8% African, 4.4% British African-Caribbean people, Caribbean, 1.7% Other Black), 1.0% British Arab, Arab and 1.0% of other ethnic heritage. 57% of primary and 52% of secondary pupils are from non-White British families. 238,313 Birmingham residents were born overseas, of these, 44% (103,682) have been resident in the UK for less than ten years. Countries new to the twenty most reported countries of birth for Birmingham residents since 2001 include; Iran, Zimbabwe, the Philippines and Nigeria. Established migrants outnumbered newer migrants in all wards except for, Edgbaston, Ladywood, Nechells and Selly Oak. In Birmingham, 60.4% of the population was aged between 16 and 74, compared to 66.7% in England as a whole. There are generally more females than males in each single year of age, except for the youngest ages (0–18) and late-30s and late-50s. Females represented 51.6% of the population whilst men represented 48.4%. The differences are most marked in the oldest age group reflecting greater female longevity, where more women were 70 or over. The bulge around the early 20s is due largely to students coming to the city's universities. Children around age ten are a relatively small group, reflecting the decline in birth rates around the turn of the century. There is a large group of children under the age of five reflecting high numbers of births in recent years. Births are up 20% since 2001, increasing from 14,427 to 17,423 in 2011. In 2011, of all households in Birmingham, 0.12% were same-sex Civil union, civil partnership households, compared to the English national average of 0.16%. 25.9% of all households owned their accommodation outright, another 29.3% owned their accommodation with a mortgage or loan. These figures were below the national average. 45.5% of people said they were in very good health which was below the national average. Another 33.9% said they were in good health, which was also below the national average. 9.1% of people said their day-to-day activities were limited a lot by their health which was higher than the national average. The Birmingham Larger Urban Zone, a Eurostat measure of the functional city-region approximated to local government districts, has a population of 2,357,100 in 2004. In addition to Birmingham itself, the LUZ includes the Metropolitan Boroughs of Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, Dudley, Sandwell, Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, Solihull and Metropolitan Borough of Walsall, Walsall, along with the districts of Lichfield (district), Lichfield, Tamworth, Staffordshire, Tamworth, North Warwickshire and Bromsgrove (district), Bromsgrove.
ReligionChristianity is the largest religion within Birmingham, with 46.1% of residents identifying as Christians in the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 Census. The city's religious profile is highly diverse, however: outside London, Birmingham has the United Kingdom's largest Islam, Muslim, Sikhism, Sikh and Buddhism, Buddhist communities; its second largest Hinduism, Hindu community; and its seventh largest Judaism, Jewish community. Between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, the proportion of Christians in Birmingham decreased from 59.1% to 46.1%, while the proportion of Muslims increased from 14.3% to 21.8% and the proportion of people with no religious affiliation increased from 12.4% to 19.3%. All other religions remained proportionately similar. St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, St Philip's Cathedral was upgraded from church status when the Anglican Diocese of Birmingham was created in 1905. There are two other cathedrals: Cathedral of Saint Chad, Birmingham, St Chad's, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Birmingham Orthodox Cathedral, Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew. The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Midlands and Affiliated Areas U.K., Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Midlands is also based at Birmingham, with a cathedral under construction. The original parish church of Birmingham, St Martin in the Bull Ring, is listed building, Grade II* listed. A short distance from Five Ways, Birmingham, Five Ways the Birmingham Oratory was completed in 1910 on the site of Cardinal Newman's original foundation. There are several Christadelphian meeting halls in the city and the Christadelphian Magazine and Publishing Group has its headquarters in Hall Green. The oldest surviving synagogue in Birmingham is the 1825 Greek Revival Severn Street Synagogue, now a Freemasons' Lodge hall. It was replaced in 1856 by the listed building, Grade II* listed Singers Hill Synagogue. Birmingham Central Mosque, one of the largest in Europe, was constructed in the 1960s. During the late 1990s Ghamkol Shariff Masjid was built in Small Heath, Birmingham, Small Heath. The Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Sikhism, Sikh Gurdwara was built on Soho Road in Handsworth in the late 1970s and the Buddhism, Buddhist Dhammatalaka Peace Pagoda near Edgbaston Reservoir in the 1990s. Winners' Chapel also maintains physical presence in Digbeth.
EconomyBirmingham grew to prominence as a centre of manufacturing and engineering. The Gun Quarter is a district of the city that was, for many years, a centre of the world's gun-manufacturing industry. The first recorded gun maker in Birmingham was in 1630, and locally made muskets were used in the . The Gun Quarter is an industrial area to the north of the Birmingham city centre, city centre, bounded by Steelhouse Lane, Shadwell Street, and Loveday Street, specialising in the production of military firearms and sporting guns. Many buildings in the area are disused but plans are in place for redevelopment including in Shadwell Street and Vesey Street. Today, the economy of Birmingham is dominated by the tertiary sector of industry, service sector, which in 2012 accounted for 88% of the city's employment. Birmingham is the largest centre in Great Britain for employment in public administration, education and Health care, health; and after Leeds the second largest centre outside London for employment in Financial services, financial and other business services. The wider metropolitan economy is the List of metropolitan economies in the United Kingdom, second-largest in the United Kingdom with a of $121.1bn (2014 est., Purchasing power parity, PPP). Major companies headquartered in Birmingham include the engineering company IMI plc, and including the wider metropolitan area the city has the largest concentration of major companies outside London and the South East. With major facilities such as the National Exhibition Centre and International Convention Centre, Birmingham, International Convention Centre Birmingham attracts 42% of the UK's total conference and exhibition trade. Manufacturing accounted for 8% of employment within Birmingham in 2012, a figure beneath the average for the UK as a whole. Major industrial plants within the city include Jaguar Land Rover in Castle Bromwich and Cadbury in Bournville, with large local producers also supporting a supply chain of precision-based small manufacturers and craft industries. More traditional industries also remain: 40% of the jewellery made in the UK is still produced by the 300 independent manufacturers of the city's , continuing a trade first recorded in Birmingham in 1308. Birmingham's Gross Value Added, GVA was £24.8bn (2015 est.,), economic growth accelerated each successive year between 2013 and 2015, and with an annual growth of 4.2% in 2015, GVA per head grew at the second fastest rate of England's eight "Core Cities". The value of manufacturing output in the city declined by 21% in real terms between 1997 and 2010, but the value of financial and insurance activities more than doubled. With 16,281 Startup company, start-ups registered during 2013 Birmingham has the highest level of entrepreneurial activity outside London, while the number of registered businesses in the city grew by 8.1% during 2016. Birmingham was behind only London and Edinburgh for private sector job creation between 2010 and 2013. Economic inequality within Birmingham is greater than in any other major English city, and is exceeded only by Glasgow in the United Kingdom. Levels of unemployment are among the highest in the country, with 10.0% of the economically active population unemployed (Jun 2016). In the inner-city wards of Aston and Washwood Heath, the figure is higher than 30%. Two-fifths of Birmingham's population live in areas classified as in the 10% most deprived parts of England, and overall Birmingham is the most deprived local authority in England in terms of income and employment deprivation. The city's infant mortality rate is high, around 60% worse than the national average. Meanwhile, just 49% of women have jobs, compared to 65% nationally, and only 28% of the working-age population in Birmingham have degree level qualifications in contrast to the average of 34% across other Core Cities. According to the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, Birmingham was placed 51st in the world, which was the second highest rating in the UK. The city's quality of life rating has continued to improve over the years and Birmingham was ranked 49th in the world in the 2019 survey. This is the first time it has featured in the top 50. The Big City Plan of 2008 aims to move the city into the index's top 20 by 2026. An area of the city has been designated an Urban Enterprise Zone, enterprise zone, with tax relief and simplified planning to lure investment. According to 2019 property investment research, Birmingham is rated as the number 1 location for "The Best Places To Invest in Property in the UK". This was attributed to a 5% increase in house prices and local investment into infrastructure.
MusicThe 's home venue is Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Symphony Hall. Other notable professional orchestras based in the city include the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and Ex Cathedra, a Baroque music, Baroque chamber choir and Historically informed performance, period instrument orchestra. The Orchestra of the Swan is the resident chamber orchestra at Birmingham Town Hall, where weekly recitals have also been given by the Birmingham City Organist, City Organist since 1834. The Birmingham Triennial Music Festivals took place from 1784 to 1912. Music was specially composed, conducted or performed by Felix Mendelssohn, Mendelssohn, Charles Gounod, Gounod, Arthur Sullivan, Sullivan, Antonín Dvořák, Dvořák, Granville Bantock, Bantock and Edward Elgar, who wrote four of his most famous choral pieces for Birmingham. Elgar's ''The Dream of Gerontius'' had its début performance there in 1900. Composers born in the city include Albert William Ketèlbey and Andrew Glover (composer), Andrew Glover. Jazz has been popular in the city since the 1920s, and there are many regular festivals such as the Harmonic Festival, the Mostly Jazz Festival and the annual International Jazz Festival. Birmingham's other city-centre music venues include Arena Birmingham (previously known as the National Indoor Arena and the Barclaycard Arena), which was opened in 1991, o2 Academy Birmingham, O2 Academy on Bristol Street, which opened in September 2009 replacing the o2 Academy Birmingham, O2 Academy in Dale End, the CBSO Centre, opened in 1997, Digbeth Institute, HMV Institute in Digbeth and the Bradshaw Hall at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. During the 1960s, Birmingham was the home of a music scene comparable to that of Liverpool. It was "a seething cauldron of musical activity", and the international success of groups such as The Move, The Spencer Davis Group, The Moody Blues, Traffic (band), Traffic and the Electric Light Orchestra had a collective influence that stretched into the 1970s and beyond. The city was a centre for early heavy metal music, with pioneering metal bands from the late 1960s and 1970s such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and half of Led Zeppelin having come from Birmingham. The next decade saw the influential metal bands Napalm Death and Godflesh emerge from the city. Birmingham was the birthplace of modern bhangra (music), bhangra in the 1960s, and by the 1980s had established itself as the global centre of bhangra culture, which has grown into a global phenomenon embraced by members of the Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin, Indian diaspora worldwide from Los Angeles to Singapore. The 1970s also saw the rise of reggae and ska in the city with such bands as Steel Pulse, UB40, Musical Youth, The Beat (British band), The Beat and Beshara (band), Beshara, expounding racial unity with politically leftist lyrics and multiracial line-ups, mirroring social currents in Birmingham at that time. Other popular bands from Birmingham include Duran Duran, Fine Young Cannibals, Felt (band), Felt, Broadcast (band), Broadcast, Ocean Colour Scene, The Streets, The Twang, King Adora, Dexys Midnight Runners, and Magnum (band), Magnum. Musicians Jeff Lynne, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward (musician), Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, John Lodge (musician), John Lodge, Roy Wood, Joan Armatrading, Toyah Willcox, Denny Laine, Sukshinder Shinda, Apache Indian, Steve Winwood, Jamelia, Oceans Ate Alaska, Fyfe Dangerfield and Laura Mvula all grew up in the city. Since 2012 the Digbeth-based B-Town indie music scene has attracted widespread attention, led by bands such as Peace (band), Peace and Swim Deep, with the ''NME'' comparing Digbeth to London's Shoreditch, and ''The Independent'' writing in 2012 that "Birmingham is fast becoming the best place in the UK to look to for the most exciting new music."
Theatre and performing artsis Britain's longest-established producing theatre, presenting a wide variety of work in its three auditoria on Centenary Square, Birmingham, Centenary Square and touring nationally and internationally. Other producing theatres in the city include the Blue Orange Theatre in the ; the Old Rep, home stage of the Birmingham Stage Company; and @ A. E. Harris, the base of the experimental Stan's Cafe theatre company, located within a working metal fabricators' factory. Touring theatre company, theatre companies include the politically radical Banner Theatre, the Maverick Theatre Company and Kindle Theatre. The Alexandra Theatre (Birmingham), Alexandra Theatre and the Birmingham Hippodrome host large-scale touring productions, while professional drama is performed on a wide range of stages across the city, including the Crescent Theatre, the Custard Factory, the Old Joint Stock Theatre, The Drum (Arts Centre), the Drum in Aston and the ''Mac (Birmingham), mac'' in Cannon Hill Park. The is one of the United Kingdom's five major Ballet company, ballet companies and one of three based outside London. It is resident at the Birmingham Hippodrome and tours extensively nationally and internationally. The company's associated ballet school – Elmhurst School for Dance in – is the oldest vocational dance school in the country. The Birmingham Opera Company under artistic director Graham Vick has developed an international reputation for its avant-garde productions, which often take place in factories, abandoned buildings and other Stage (theatre)#Created and found spaces, found spaces around the city. More conventional seasons by Welsh National Opera and other visiting opera companies take place regularly at the Birmingham Hippodrome. The first dedicated comedy club outside of London, The Glee Club, was opened in The Arcadian Centre, city centre, in 1994, and continues to host performances by leading regional, national and international acts.
LiteratureLiterary figures associated with Birmingham include Samuel Johnson who stayed in Birmingham for a short period and was born in nearby Lichfield. Arthur Conan Doyle worked in the Aston area of Birmingham whilst poet Louis MacNeice lived in Birmingham for six years. It was whilst staying in Birmingham that American author Washington Irving produced several of his most famous literary works, such as ''Bracebridge Hall'' and ''The Humorists, A Medley'' which are based on Aston Hall, as well as ''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'' and ''Rip Van Winkle'' . The poet W. H. Auden grew up in the Harborne area of the city and during the 1930s formed the core of the Auden Group with Birmingham University lecturer Louis MacNeice. Other influential poets associated with Birmingham include Roi Kwabena, who was the city's sixth poet laureate, and Benjamin Zephaniah, who was born in the city. The author J. R. R. Tolkien was brought up in the Kings Heath area of Birmingham. The award-winning political playwright David Edgar (playwright), David Edgar was born in Birmingham, and the science fiction author John Wyndham spent his early childhood in the area of the city. Birmingham has a vibrant contemporary literary scene, with local authors including David Lodge (author), David Lodge, Jim Crace, Jonathan Coe, Joel Lane and Judith Cutler. The city's leading contemporary literary publisher is the Tindal Street Press, whose authors include prize-winning novelists Catherine O'Flynn, Clare Morrall and Austin Clarke (novelist), Austin Clarke.
Art and designThe Birmingham School (landscape artists), Birmingham School of landscape artists emerged with Daniel Bond in the 1760s and was to last into the mid 19th century. Its most important figure was David Cox (artist), David Cox, whose later works make him an important precursor of impressionism. The influence of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the Birmingham School of Art made Birmingham an important centre of Victorian art, particularly within the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts movement, Arts and Crafts movements. Major figures included the Pre-Raphaelite and symbolist Edward Burne-Jones; Walter Langley, the first of the Newlyn School painters; and Joseph Southall, leader of the group of artists and craftsmen known as the Birmingham Group (artists), Birmingham Group. The Birmingham Surrealists were among the "harbingers of surrealism" in Britain in the 1930s and the movement's most active members in the 1940s, while more abstract artists associated with the city included Lee Bank-born David Bomberg and CoBrA member William Gear. Birmingham artists were prominent in several post-war developments in art: Peter Phillips (artist), Peter Phillips was among the central figures in the birth of Pop Art; John Salt was the only major European figure among the pioneers of photo-realism; and the BLK Art Group used painting, collage and multimedia to examine the politics and culture of Black British identity. Contemporary artists from the city include the Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing and the Turner Prize shortlisted artists Richard Billingham, John Walker (painter), John Walker Roger Hiorns and conceptual artist Dr Pogus Caesar his work has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, London, National Portrait Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Birmingham's role as a manufacturing and printing centre has supported strong local traditions of graphic design and product design. Iconic works by Birmingham designers include the Baskerville font, Ruskin Pottery, the Acme Whistles, Acme Thunderer whistle, the Art Deco branding of the Odeon Cinemas and the Mini.
Museums and galleriesBirmingham has two major public art collections. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is best known for its works by the Pre-Raphaelites, a collection "of outstanding importance". It also holds a significant selection of old masters – including major works by Giovanni Bellini, Bellini, Peter Paul Rubens, Rubens, Canaletto and Claude Lorrain, Claude – and particularly strong collections of 17th-century Italian Baroque art, Italian Baroque painting and English watercolours. Its design holdings include Europe's pre-eminent collections of ceramic art, ceramics and fine metalwork. The in is one of the finest small art galleries in the world, with a collection of exceptional quality representing Western art history, Western art from the 13th century to the present day. Birmingham Museums Trust runs other museums in the city including Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Soho House and Sarehole Mill. The Birmingham Back to Backs are the last surviving court of back-to-back houses in the city. Cadbury World, Birmingham, Cadbury World is a museum showing visitors the stages and steps of chocolate production and the history of chocolate and Cadbury Schweppes, the company. The Ikon Gallery hosts displays of contemporary art, as does Eastside Projects. Thinktank, Birmingham, Thinktank is Birmingham's main science museum, with a giant screen cinema, a planetarium and a collection that includes the ''Smethwick Engine'', the world's oldest working steam engine. Other science-based museums include the National Sea Life Centre (Birmingham), National Sea Life Centre in Brindleyplace, the Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham and the Centre of the Earth environmental education centre in Winson Green.
Nightlife and festivalsNightlife in Birmingham is mainly concentrated along Broad Street, Birmingham, Broad Street and into Brindleyplace. Although in more recent years Broad Street has lost its popularity due to the closing of several clubs; the Arcadian now has more popularity in terms of nightlife. Outside the Broad Street area are many stylish and underground venues. The Medicine Bar in the Custard Factory, Digbeth Institute, hmv Institute, Rainbow Pub and Air are large clubs and bars in Digbeth. Around the Chinese Quarter are areas such as the Arcadian and Hurst Street, Birmingham, Hurst Street Birmingham Gay Village, Gay Village, that abound with bars and clubs. Summer Row, The Mailbox, O2 Academy Birmingham, O2 Academy in Bristol Street, Snobs Nightclub, St Philips/Colmore Row, St Paul's Square and the all have a vibrant night life. There are a number of late night pubs in the Irish Quarter. Outside the city centre is Star City, Birmingham, Star City entertainment complex on the former site of Nechells Power Station. Birmingham is home to many national, religious and spiritual festivals including a Saint George, St. George's Day party. The Birmingham Tattoo is a long-standing military show held annually at the National Indoor Arena. The Caribbean-style Birmingham International Carnival takes place in odd numbered years. The UK's largest two-day Gay Pride is Birmingham Pride (LGBT festival), which is typically held over the spring bank holiday weekend in May. The streets of Birmingham's gay district pulsate with a carnival parade, live music, a dance arena with DJs, cabaret stage, women's arena and a community village. Birmingham Pride takes place in the Birmingham Gay Village, gay village. From 1997 until December 2006, the city hosted an annual arts festival ''ArtsFest'', the largest free arts festival in the UK at the time. The city's largest single-day event is its St. Patrick's Day parade (Europe's second largest, after Dublin). Other multicultural events include the Bangla Mela and the Vaisakhi Mela. The Birmingham Heritage Festival is a Mardi Gras style event in August. Caribbean and African culture are celebrated with parades and street performances by busking, buskers. Other festivals in the city include the Birmingham International Jazz Festival, "Party in the Park", originally a festival hosted by local and regional radio stations which died down in 2007 and has now been brought back to life as an unsigned festival for regional unsigned acts to showcase themselves in a one-day music festival for the whole family. Birmingham Comedy Festival (since 2001; 10 days in October), which has been headlined by such acts as Peter Kay, The Fast Show, Jimmy Carr, Lee Evans (comedian), Lee Evans and Lenny Henry. The biennial International Dance Festival Birmingham started in 2008, organised by DanceXchange and involving indoor and outdoor venues across the city. Since 2001, Birmingham has also been host to the Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham, Frankfurt Christmas Market. Modelled on its Frankfurt Christmas Market, German counterpart, it has grown to become the UK's largest outdoor Christmas market and is the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria, attracting over 3.1 million visitors in 2010 and over 5 million visitors in 2011. The Nowka Bais is a Bengali culture, Bengali boat racing festival which takes place annually in Birmingham. It is a leading cultural event in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands, United Kingdom attracting not only the Bangladeshi diaspora but a variety of cultures. It is also the largest kind of boat race in the United Kingdom.
Food and drinkBirmingham's development as a commercial town was originally based around its market for agricultural produce, established by royal charter in 1166. Despite the industrialisation of subsequent centuries this role has been retained and the Birmingham Wholesale Markets remain the largest combined wholesale food markets in the country, selling meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and flowers and supplying fresh produce to restaurateurs and independent retailers from as far as away. Birmingham is the only city outside London to have five Michelin Guide, Michelin starred restaurants: Andreas Antona, Simpson's in , Carters of Moseley, and Glynn Purnell, Purnell's, Opheem and Adam's in the city centre. List of breweries in Birmingham, Birmingham based breweries included Ansells, Davenport's and Mitchells and Butlers plc, Mitchells & Butlers. Aston Manor Brewery is currently the only brewery of any significant size. Many fine Victorian pubs and bars can still be found across the city, whilst there is also a plethora of more modern nightclubs and bars, notably along Broad Street, Birmingham, Broad Street. The Wing Yip food empire first began in the city and now has its headquarters in Nechells. The Balti (food), Balti, a type of curry, was invented in the city, which has received much acclaim for the 'Balti Belt' or 'Balti Triangle'. Famous food brands that originated in Birmingham include Typhoo tea, Bird's Custard, Cadbury's, Cadbury's chocolate and HP Sauce. There is also a thriving independent and artisan food sector in Birmingham, encompassing microbreweries like Two Towers, and collective bakeries such as Loaf. Recent years have seen these businesses increasingly showcased at farmers markets, popular street food events and food festivals including Birmingham Independent Food Fair.
Entertainment and leisureBirmingham is home to many entertainment and leisure venues, including Europe's largest leisure and entertainment complex Star City, Birmingham, Star City as well as Europe's first out-of-city-centre entertainment and leisure complex Resorts World Birmingham owned by the Genting Group. The Mailbox which caters for more affluent clients is based within the city.
ArchitectureBirmingham is chiefly a product of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries; its growth began during the . Consequently, relatively few buildings survive from its earlier history and those that do are protected. There are 1,946 listed buildings in Listed buildings in Birmingham, Birmingham and thirteen scheduled ancient monuments. Birmingham City Council also operate a locally listing scheme for buildings that do not fully meet the criteria for statutorily listed status. Traces of medieval Birmingham can be seen in the oldest churches, notably the original parish church, St Martin in the Bull Ring. A few other buildings from the medieval and Tudor architecture, Tudor periods survive, among them the ''Lad in the Lane'' and The Old Crown, Birmingham, ''The Old Crown'', the 15th century ''Saracen's Head'' public house and Old Grammar School in Kings Norton and Blakesley Hall. A number of Georgian era, Georgian buildings survive, including St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, St Philip's Cathedral, Soho House, Perrott's Folly, the Birmingham Town Hall, Town Hall and much of St Paul's Square, Birmingham, St Paul's Square. The saw extensive building across the city. Major civic buildings such as the Victoria Law Courts, Birmingham, Victoria Law Courts (in characteristic red brick and terracotta), the City of Birmingham Council House, Council House and the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Museum & Art Gallery were constructed. Cathedral of Saint Chad, Birmingham, St Chad's Cathedral was the first Roman Catholic cathedral to be built in the UK since the English Reformation, Reformation. Across the city, the need to house the industrial workers gave rise to miles of redbrick streets and terraces, many of back-to-back houses, some of which were later to become inner-city slums. Postwar redevelopment and anti-Victorianism resulted in the loss of dozens of Victorian buildings like New Street station and the old Birmingham Central Library, Central Library, often replaced by brutalism, brutalist architecture. Sir Herbert Manzoni, City Engineer and Surveyor of Birmingham from 1935 until 1963, believed conservation of old buildings was sentimental and that the city did not have any of worth anyway. In inner-city areas too, much Victorian housing was demolished and urban renewal, redeveloped. Existing communities were relocated to Housing estate, estates like . In a partial reaction against the Manzoni years, Birmingham City Council is demolishing some of the brutalist buildings like the Central Library and has an extensive tower block demolition and renovation programme. There has been much redevelopment in the city centre in recent years, including the award-winning Future Systems' Selfridges Building, Birmingham, Selfridges building in the Bull Ring, Birmingham, Bullring Shopping Centre, the Brindleyplace regeneration project, the Millennium Point (Birmingham), Millennium Point science and technology centre, and the refurbishment of the iconic Rotunda (Birmingham), Rotunda building. Funding for many of these projects has come from the European Union; the Town Hall for example received £3 million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund. Highrise development has slowed since the 1970s and mainly in recent years because of enforcements imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom, Civil Aviation Authority on the heights of buildings as they could affect aircraft from the Airport (e.g. Beetham Tower, Birmingham, Beetham Tower).
Demonymy and identityPeople from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city's nickname of "Brum", which originates from the city's old name, Brummagem, which in turn is thought to have derived from "Bromwich-ham". The Brummie Accent (dialect), accent and dialect are particularly distinctive.
TransportPartly due to its central location, Birmingham is a major transport hub on the motorway, rail and canal networks.
RoadsThe city is served by the M5 motorway, M5, M6 motorway, M6, M40 motorway, M40, and M42 motorway, M42 motorways, and possibly the most well known motorway junction in the United Kingdom: Gravelly Hill Interchange, Spaghetti Junction, a colloquial name for the Gravelly Hill Interchange. The M6 passes through the city on the Bromford Viaduct, which at is the longest bridge in the UK. Birmingham is planning a Clean Air Zone from 1 June 2021, which will charge polluting vehicles to travel into the city centre.
AirBirmingham Airport, located east of the city centre in the neighbouring borough of Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, Solihull, is the Busiest airports in the United Kingdom by total passenger traffic, seventh busiest airport by passenger traffic in the UK and the third busiest outside the London area, after Manchester Airport, Manchester and Edinburgh Airport, Edinburgh. It is a major base for Ryanair and TUI Airways. Airline services operate from Birmingham to many destinations in , the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania.
Public transportBirmingham New Street railway station, Birmingham New Street is the List of busiest railway stations in Great Britain, busiest railway station in the UK outside London, both for passenger entries/exits and for passenger interchanges. It is the national hub for CrossCountry, the most extensive long-distance train network in Britain, and a major destination for Avanti West Coast services from Euston railway station, London Euston, Glasgow Central station, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley railway station, Edinburgh Waverley. Birmingham Moor Street railway station, Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham Snow Hill railway station, Birmingham Snow Hill form the northern termini for Chiltern Railways express trains running from Marylebone station, London Marylebone. Local and regional services are operated from all of Birmingham's stations by West Midlands Trains. The under construction Birmingham Curzon Street railway station, Curzon Street railway station will be the terminus for trains to the city on High Speed 2, the first phase of which will open around 2030. The National Express headquarters are located in Digbeth, in offices above Birmingham Coach Station, which forms the national hub of the company's coach network. The bus division is based in Bordesley Green, just outside the City Centre. Birmingham's local public transport network is co-ordinated by Transport for West Midlands. The network includes: the busiest urban rail system in the UK outside London, with 122 million passenger entries and exits per annum; the UK's busiest urban bus system outside London, with 300.2 million passenger journeys per annum; and the West Midlands Metro, a light rail system that operates between Library tram stop, Library in Central Birmingham and Wolverhampton via Bilston, Wednesbury and West Bromwich. Bus routes are mainly operated by National Express West Midlands, which accounts for over 80% of all bus journeys in Birmingham, though there are around 50 other, smaller registered bus companies. The National Express West Midlands Birmingham Outer Circle, number 11 outer circle bus route, which operates in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions around the outskirts of the city, is the longest urban bus route in Europe, being over long with 272 bus stops. There is currently no underground system in Birmingham; it is the largest city in Europe not to have one. In recent years, ideas of an underground system have started to appear, but none so far have been planned in earnest primarily due to the ongoing expansion of the West Midlands Metro tram network being viewed as a higher priority.
CanalsAn extensive Transport in Birmingham#Canals, canal system still remains in Birmingham from the Industrial Revolution. The city has more miles of canal than Venice, though the canals in Birmingham are a less prominent and essential feature due to the larger size of the city and the fact that few of its buildings are accessed by canal. The canals are mainly used today for leisure purposes, and canalside regeneration schemes such as Brindleyplace have turned the canals into a tourist attraction.
Further and higher educationBirmingham is home to five universities: Aston University, University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University College Birmingham and Newman University, Birmingham, Newman University. The city also hosts major campuses of the University of Law and BPP University, as well as the Open University's West Midlands regional base. In 2011 Birmingham had 78,259 full-time students from all over the world aged 18–74 resident in the city during term time, more than any other city in the United Kingdom outside London. Birmingham has 32,690 academic research, research students, also the highest number of any major city outside London. The Birmingham Business School (University of Birmingham), Birmingham Business School, established by William Ashley (economic historian), Sir William Ashley in 1902, is the oldest graduate-level business school in the United Kingdom. Another top business school in the city includes Aston Business School, one of fewer than 1% of business schools globally to be granted triple accreditation, and Birmingham City Business School. Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, offers professional training in music and acting. Birmingham is an important centre for religious education. St Mary's College, Oscott is one of the three seminary, seminaries of the Catholic Church in England and Wales; Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Woodbrooke is the only Quaker study centre in Europe; and Queen's College, Edgbaston is an ecumenical theological college serving the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. Birmingham Metropolitan College is one of the largest further education colleges in the country, with fourteen campuses spread across Birmingham and into the Black Country and Worcestershire. South & City College Birmingham has nine campuses spread throughout the city. Bournville College is based in a £66 million, 4.2 acre campus in Longbridge that opened in 2011. Fircroft College is a residential college based in a former Edwardian mansion in Selly Oak, founded in 1909 around a strong commitment to social justice, with many courses aimed at students with few prior formal qualifications. Queen Alexandra College is a specialist college based in Harborne offering further education to visually impaired or disabled students from all over the United Kingdom.
Primary and secondary educationBirmingham City Council is England's largest local education authority, directly or indirectly responsible for 25 nursery schools, 328 primary schools, 77 secondary schools and 29 special schools. and providing around 3,500 adult education courses throughout the year. Most of Birmingham's state school#United Kingdom, state schools are Community school (England and Wales), community schools run directly by Birmingham City Council in its role as local education authority (LEA), although there are also voluntary aided school, voluntary aided schools within the state system. Since the 1970s, most secondary schools in Birmingham have been 11-–-16/18 comprehensive schools, while post GCSE students have the choice of continuing their education in either a school's sixth form or at a further education college. King Edward's School, Birmingham, founded in 1552 by King Edward VI, is one of the oldest schools in the city, teaching GCSE and International Baccalaureate, IB, with alumni including J R R Tolkien, author of the ''Lord of the Rings'' books and ''The Hobbit''. Independent schools in the city include the Birmingham Blue Coat School, King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham, King Edward VI High School for Girls and Edgbaston High School for Girls. Bishop Vesey's Grammar School was founded by Bishop Vesey in 1527.
Public servicesIn Birmingham library, libraries, leisure centres, Parks and open spaces in Birmingham, parks, play areas, transport, street cleaning and waste collection face cuts among other services. Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council called on the government to change radically how local services are funded and provided. It is claimed government cuts to local authorities have hit Birmingham disproportionately. Child protection services within Birmingham were rated "inadequate" by OFSTED for four years running between 2009 and 2013, with 20 child deaths since 2007 being investigated. In March 2014 the government announced that independent commissioner would be appointed to oversee improvements to children's services within the city.
Library servicesThe former Birmingham Central Library, opened in 1972, was considered to be the largest municipal library in Europe. Six of its collections were Designation Scheme, designated by the Arts Council England as being "pre-eminent collections of national and international importance", out of only eight collections to be so recognised in local authority libraries nationwide. A new in Centenary Square, replacing Central Library, was opened on 3 September 2013. It was designed by the Dutch architects Mecanoo and has been described as "a kind of public forum ... a memorial, a shrine, to the book and to literature". This library faces cuts, due to reduced funding from Central government. There are 41 local libraries in Birmingham, plus a regular mobile library service. The library service has 4 million visitors annually. Due to budget cuts, four of the branch libraries risk closure whilst services may be reduced elsewhere.
Emergency servicesLaw enforcement in Birmingham is carried out by West Midlands Police, whose headquarters are at Lloyd House, Birmingham, Lloyd House in the city centre. With 87.92 recorded offences per 1000 population in 2009–10, Birmingham's crime rate is above the average for England and Wales, but lower than any of England's other major Core Cities Group, core cities and lower than many smaller cities such as Oxford, Cambridge or Brighton. Fire and rescue services in Birmingham are provided by West Midlands Fire Service and emergency medical care by West Midlands Ambulance Service.
HealthcareThere are several major National Health Service hospitals in Birmingham. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, adjacent to the Birmingham Medical School in , is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the United Kingdom with over 1,200 beds. It is a major trauma centre offering services to the extended West Midlands region and houses the largest single-floor critical care unit in the world, with 100 beds. The hospital has the largest solid organ transplantation programme in Europe as well as the largest renal transplant programme in the United Kingdom and it is a national specialist centre for liver, heart and lung transplantation, as well as cancer studies. It is the home of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine for military personnel injured in conflict zones. Other District General Hospital, general hospitals in the city include Heartlands Hospital in Bordesley Green, Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and City Hospital, Birmingham, City Hospital in Winson Green. There are also many specialist hospitals, such as Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham Dental Hospital, and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. Birmingham saw the first ever use of radiography in an Surgery operation, operation, and the UK's first ever Atrial septal defect, hole-in-the-heart operation was performed at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Water supplyThe Birmingham Corporation Water Department was set up in 1876 to supply water to Birmingham, up until 1974 when its responsibilities were transferred to Severn Trent Water. Most of Birmingham's water is supplied by the Elan aqueduct, opened in 1904; water is fed by gravity to Frankley Reservoir, Frankley, and Bartley Reservoir, Bartley Green, from Elan Valley Reservoirs, reservoirs in the Elan Valley, Wales.
Energy from wasteWithin Birmingham the Tyseley Energy from Waste Plant, a large incineration plant built in 1996 for Veolia, burns some 366,414 tonnes of household waste annually and produces 166,230 MWh of electricity for the National Grid (UK), National Grid along with 282,013 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
SportBirmingham has played an important part in the history of modern sport. The Football League – the world's first league association football, football competition – was founded by Birmingham resident and Aston Villa director William McGregor (football), William McGregor, who wrote to fellow club directors in 1888 proposing "that ten or twelve of the most prominent clubs in England combine to arrange home-and-away fixtures each season". The modern game of tennis was developed between 1859 and 1865 by Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera at Perera's house in , with the Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society remaining the oldest tennis club in the world. The Birmingham and District Premier League, Birmingham and District Cricket League is the oldest cricket league in the world, and Birmingham was the host for the first ever Cricket World Cup, a Women's Cricket World Cup in 1973. Birmingham was the first city to be named National City of Sport by the UK Sport, Sports Council. Birmingham was selected ahead of London and Manchester to bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics, but was unsuccessful in the final selection process, which was won by Barcelona. Today, the city is home of two of the country's oldest professional association football, football teams: Aston Villa F.C., which was founded in 1874 and plays at Villa Park; and Birmingham City F.C., which was founded in 1875 and plays at St Andrew's (stadium), St Andrew's. Rivalry between the clubs is fierce and the fixture between the two is called the Second City derby. Aston Villa currently play in the Premier League while Birmingham City currently play in the EFL Championship, Championship. West Bromwich Albion also draw support within the Birmingham area, being located at The Hawthorns just outside the city boundaries in Sandwell. Warwickshire County Cricket Club play at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, which also hosts test cricket and one day internationals and is the largest cricket ground in the United Kingdom after Lord's. Edgbaston was the scene of the highest ever score by a batsman in first-class cricket, when Brian Lara scored 501 not out for Warwickshire in 1994. Birmingham is also home to professional Rugby Union clubs such as Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club, Birmingham Moseley and Birmingham & Solihull R.F.C., Birmingham & Solihull. The city also has a Rugby League club, the Birmingham Bulldogs. The city is also home to one of the oldest American football teams in the BAFA National Leagues, the Birmingham Bulls (American football), Birmingham Bulls. Two major championship golf courses lie on the city's outskirts. The Belfry near Sutton Coldfield is the headquarters of the Professional Golfers' Association (Great Britain and Ireland), Professional Golfers' Association and has hosted the Ryder Cup more times than any other venue. The Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club near Birmingham Airport, England, Birmingham Airport is also a regular host of tournaments on the PGA European Tour, including the British Masters and the English Open. The AEGON Classic is, alongside The Championships, Wimbledon, Wimbledon and AEGON International, Eastbourne, one of only three UK tennis tournaments on the Women's Tennis Association, WTA Tour. It is played annually at the Edgbaston Priory Club, which in 2010 announced plans for a multimillion-pound redevelopment, including a new showcase centre court and a museum celebrating the game's Birmingham origins. The Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr is the headquarters of UK Athletics, and one of only two British venues to host fixtures in the elite international IAAF Diamond League. It is also the home of Birchfield Harriers, which has many international athletes among its members. The National Indoor Arena hosted the 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships and the World Athletics Indoor Championships, 2003 and 2018 World Indoor Championships, as well as hosting the annual Aviva Indoor Grand Prix – the only British indoor athletics fixture to qualify as an IAAF Indoor Permit Meetings, IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting – and a wide variety of other sporting events. Professional boxing, field hockey, hockey, skateboarding, stock-car racing, greyhound racing and Motorcycle speedway, speedway also takes place within the city. Since 1994 Birmingham has hosted the All England Open Badminton Championships at Arena Birmingham.
Commonwealth GamesBirmingham will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Games are expected to take place between 27 July and 7 August 2022. Birmingham has a wealth of existing sports venues, arenas and conference halls that are ideal for hosting sport during the Games. Alexander Stadium, which will host the ceremonies and athletics, will be renovated and the capacity will be increased to 40,000 seats. The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are expected to generate a £526 million boost to the West Midlands regional economy. The official handover to Birmingham took place at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony on 15 April 2018.
MediaBirmingham has several major local newspapers – the daily ''Birmingham Mail'' and the weekly ''Birmingham Post'' and ''Sunday Mercury'', all owned by Reach plc. ''Forward'' is a freesheet produced by Birmingham City Council, which is distributed to homes in the city. Birmingham is also the hub for various national ethnic media, lifestyle magazines, digital news platforms, and the base for two regional Metro (British newspaper), Metro editions (East and West Midlands). Birmingham has three mainstream digital-only news publishers, ''I Am Birmingham'', ''Birmingham Updates'' and ''Second City''. Birmingham has a long cinematic history; The Electric, Birmingham, The Electric on Station Street is the oldest working cinema in the UK. Birmingham is the location for several British and international film productions including ''Felicia's Journey (film), Felicia's Journey'' of 1999, which used locations in Birmingham that were used in ''Take Me High'' of 1973 to contrast the changes in the city. The BBC has two facilities in the city. The Mailbox, in the city centre, is the national headquarters of BBC English Regions and the headquarters of BBC West Midlands and the BBC Birmingham network production centre. These were previously located at the Pebble Mill Studios in . The BBC Drama Village, based in Selly Oak, is a production facility specialising in BBC television drama, television drama. ITV Central, Central/ATV studios in Birmingham was the location for the recording of various programmes for ITV, including ''Tiswas'' and ''Crossroads (soap opera), Crossroads'', until the complex was closed in 1997, and Central moved to its current Gas Street studios. Central's output from Birmingham now consists of only the ''West'' and ''East'' editions of the regional news programme ''Central Tonight''. The city is served by numerous national and regional radio stations, as well as hyperlocal radio stations. These include Free Radio Birmingham and Greatest Hits West Midlands, Capital Birmingham, Heart West Midlands, Absolute Radio, Smooth Radio. The city has a community radio scene, with stations including Big City Radio, New Style Radio 98.7FM, New Style Radio, Brum Radio, Switch Radio, Scratch Radio, Raaj FM, and Unity FM. ''The Archers'', the world's longest running radio soap, is recorded in Birmingham for BBC Radio 4. BBC Birmingham studios additionally produce shows for BBC WM, BBC Radio WM and BBC Asian Network in the city.
International relationsBirmingham has nine Town twinning, sister cities; * Lyon, France (since 1951) * Frankfurt am Main, Germany (since 1966) * Milan, Italy (since 1974) * Changchun, China (since 1983) * Leipzig, Germany (since 1992) * Chicago, United States (since 1993) * Johannesburg, South Africa (since 1997) * Guangzhou, China (since 2006) * Nanjing, China (since 2007) Birmingham was twinned with Zaporizhzhia, in Ukraine, in the late Soviet Union period. This is noted in Ukrainian and in Birmingham public records.
See also* Honorary Freedom of the City of Birmingham * List of countries by national capital, largest and second-largest cities
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