Birmingham is a large city in central England, with about one million inhabitants of the city itself and about 3 million in the metropolitan area. It is the second largest city in the United Kingdom after London. Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice, and more trees per head of population that any other city in Europe. It was the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the home of the Lunar Society. It grew rapidly in the late 19th century, particularly with the urban development supported by its most famous resident, Joseph Chamberlain. The city has a distinctive local dialect known as 'Brummie' which is thought by linguists to be similar to how William Shakespeare would have spoken, since Stratford-upon-Avon is relatively close to Birmingham. The people of Birmingham, like the local dialect, are also known as 'Brummies'. It also has its own local cuisine, a curry dish known as a 'balti'.
Birmingham was important during the Industrial Revolution when many different trades were important there. Heavy industry was important in Birmingham as was jewellery manufacturing, with the city to this day having an area called the Jewellery Quarter. Birmingham grew steadily until after the 1960's. During the 1980's Birmingham suffered severe unemployment as heavy industry declined. Birmingham has recovered and is now an important commercial centre, with one of Europe's largest shopping centres, as well as an industrial centre.
Birmingham was a small village at the time of the Doomsday Book. Then Birmingham was in the area that is now the Bull Ring in the City Centre. Birmingham grew over the centuries, most dramatically from the mid-18th century onwards during the industrial revolution. Matthew Boulton was important as an industrialist who helped develop Birmingham.
- John Cadbury (Quaker, philanthropist and founder of Cadbury's chocolate company)
- Neville Chamberlain (prime minister)
- Francis Galton (founder of eugenics)
- Nigel Mansell (Former Formula 1 driver)
- Bill Oddie (naturalist)
- Ozzy Osbourne (rock musician)
- J.R.R. Tolkien (writer) - although he was born in South Africa