Birmingham: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Birmingham.

  • Birmingham, in the West Midlands, is the UK’s second largest city with a population of around 3,600,000 people.
  • The city is twinned with Chicago, Milan and Johannesburg and there are 30 other Birminghams around the world.

  • During the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, Birmingham grew quickly. The world’s first cotton mill was built here in the 18th century, and the industrial steam engine was developed here.
  • Birmingham is the farthest from the sea of any major UK city, about 190 km.
  • It has more kilometres of canals than Venice and is at the centre of the UK’s motorway network.
  • The writer JRR Tolkien lived in Birmingham, and several city locations inspired places in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The book’s two towers were apparently based on the water works building at Edgbaston.
  • Other famous residents included the poet WH Auden and the writer David Lodge. The rock groups the Moody Blues, ELO and Black Sabbath all come from Birmingham.
  • Birmingham’s central library is the largest public library in Europe, lending 8 million books every year. The city is home to several large universities and over 400 schools.
  • Birmingham has a large Asian population and is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Europe. The Balti Triangle area is home to some of the country’s oldest Indian restaurants.
  • Famous landmarks in and around the city include: the Bull Ring shopping centre, the National Exhibition Centre and the 80 metre high Rotunda Tower.
  • Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter is Europe’s largest area of jewellery and metalworking workshops. The area produces about 40 percent of all the jewellery in the UK.
  • The nearby village of Bournville was built by the Cadbury chocolate company in 1893. The so called ‘model village’ was intended to be a pleasant place for factory workers to live.