Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

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Quick and quirky facts

quick and quirky facts
  • Birmingham means home (ham) of the people (ing) of the tribal leader Birm or Beorma.
  • Birmingham's first canal was opened in 1769 and linked Birmingham to Wednesbury. There are many locks on the canals including the famous Guillotine Lock in Kings Norton, which was used to control the flow of water between canals owned by different companies.
  • Birmingham is home to Cadbury's Chocolate. George and his brother Richard Cadbury moved their successful chocolate manufacturing business from Bull Street, Birmingham to Bournville in 1879.
  • Built as part of The ICC in 1991, Symphony Hall is the home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
  • Victoria Square hosts one of the largest fountains in Europe, with a flow of 3,000 gallons per minute, it is officially known as 'The River'.
  • Bingley Hall, the world's first exhibition hall, opened in 1850 on the site now occupied by The ICC
  • Alec Issigonis was one of the most colourful car designers of modern times. He went on to design the world famous, Birmingham- made 'Mini', which started production in 1959 at Longbridge, Birmingham and is still in production today.
  • Birmingham is home to the historic Bull Ring - site of a market for more than 800 years. Within the complex are five retail markets attracting around 20 million customers a year.
  • Two miles from Birmingham city centre is one of the biggest motorway junctions in Europe:Gravelly Hill Interchange, known as 'Spaghetti Junction' to millions of motorists.
  • Soho House is the elegant home of industrial pioneer Matthew Boulton, who lived their from 1766 to 1809. Boulton in partnership with James Watt developed and patented the steam engine at the nearby but now demolished Soho Factory.
  • William Murdock, who worked for Boulton and Watt at Soho, Handsworth, invented gas lighting. His cottage at Soho Foundary was the first domestic building to be lit by gas (1798).
  • James Watt, who lived in Birmingham 1775-1819, developed the steam engine. Through it, the firm Boulton and Watt sold the industrial revolution to the world. Watt also invented the letter copying machine, forerunner of the photocopier. His name stays in our vocabulary through the lightbulb measurement - 60 Watts, 40 Watts, etc.
  • X-Ray photography for medical purposes was pioneered by Major John Hall Edwards; he took the first x-ray in Birmingham in 1896.
  • Curzon Street Station, Digbeth, was the terminus of the London and Birmingham railway, with a station built by Philip Hardwick in 1838, who designed the original Euston Station too.
  • Birmingham's international Partner Cities include Chicago (USA), Frankfurt (Germany), Johannesburg (South Africa), Leipzig (Germany), Lyon (France) and Milan (Italy).
  • Birmingham's Centenary Square is made up of more than half a million individual bricks - all hand laid!