History and Culture of Birmingham and the West Midlands | latest news from nigerian newspapers today

History and Culture of Birmingham and the West Midlands


Now England’s second largest city, Birmingham started life as a small Saxon settlement before developing into a market town in the 12th century.

Back then, Birmingham was home to just 1,500 residents.

During the 1700s, Birmingham’s population is said to have grown from 11,000 to 73,000 before the town began to expand.

Balsall Heath, Castle Bromwich, Erdington, Harborne, Handsworth, Kings Norton and Perry Barr were among the areas to fall within the new Birmingham boundaries as it gained city status in 1889.

The number of people living in Birmingham now stands at around 1.2 million, making it the biggest city outside of London.

As its population swelled, the industries flourished as Birmingham became known as the “city of a thousand trades” and “the engine room of the UK”.

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It played a major role in the Industrial Revolution, leading the way in manufacturing thanks to its bustling factories and workshops.

Ammunition, guns, metalware, tools and watches were among an array of products that were produced in Birmingham.

The Lunar Society of Birmingham was formed in 1765 which was a centre for industrialists and intellectuals including Matthew Boulton and James Watt.

In 1766, Boulton opened the Soho Manufactory, which pioneered the idea of mass production and became one of the largest manufactories in Europe.

Able to accommodate up to 1,000 workers, the Soho Manufactory produced buttons, buckles, watch chains and medals.

Boulton then teamed up with Watt in 1795 to create the Soho Foundry in Smethwick which was one of the most advanced factories of its time.

They produced the Boulton and Watt steam engine which helped to drive the Industrial Revolution and put Birmingham on the map as a city of innovation.

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