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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



Quick and Quirky Facts: 2

Quick & Quirky Facts
  • Tree Cheers! Other big cities are green with envy when you mention Brum's six million trees, more parks than any other European city, a record-breaking 14 consecutive gold medals from the Chelsea Flower Show and our National Britain in Bloom awards.
  • Read All About It! Birmingham's Central Library is the city's busiest building, Europe's largest public library and lends eight million books each year.
  • The population of Birmingham is approximately one million people and there are almost five and a half million people in the West Midlands region.
  • There are three universities and over 430 schools in the City.
  • Birmingham is home to many past and present rock bands including Ocean Colour Scene, Duran Duran, ELO, Dodgy, UB40, and Black Sabbath.
  • There are 30 other Birminghams around the world and one crater on the moon called Birmingham!
  • The history of the founding de Bermingham family is difficult to follow as there were seven Williams in a row.
  • Celluloid was invented in 1862, by Alexander Parkes; the first plastic was known as Parkensine.
  • The first of the famous Odeon chain of cinemas first opened in Perry Barr, Birmingham in 1930.
  • Place names in Birmingham include California, Hollywood and Broadway!
  • Nigel Mansell, Indy and Formula One Champion was born, lived and worked in Birmingham.
  • John Wyatt invented a machine for spinning wool - the spinning jenny.
  • Henry Clay invented a new form of papier mache using sheets of paper (1772).
  • Joseph Sampson Gamgee (1828-80), a Birmingham doctor, invented the surgical dressing known as cotton wool.
  • Joseph Priestley, a Birmingham minister (1780-91), discovered oxygen.
  • Electro-plating was invented in Birmingham by John Wright in 1840.
  • Two of Britain's big four banks were founded in Birmingham - Lloyds (1765) and Midland (1836).
  • The Pneumatic tyre was invented in Birmingham by John Dunlop in 1888.
  • Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) is recognised as the founder of municipal government.
  • State education was pioneered in Birmingham in the 1850s.
  • Three British prime ministers attended Mason College, forerunner of the University of Birmingham.
  • Antonin Dvorak, Czech composer (1841-1904) said:
    "I'm here in this immense industrial city where they make excellent knives, scissors, springs, files and goodness knows what else, and, besides these, music too. And how well! It's terrifying how much the people here manage to achieve."
  • Sweeping success! Council staff frequently clean more than 1,300 miles (2,000 km) of roads, and empty over 4,500 litter bins, taking Birmingham to the final of the independently-judged Cleanest City Competition on numerous occasions, and emerging as outright winner a few years ago, the largest industrial city to have such a proud record.