You know Birmingham as the city playing host to BlueLightCamp in June 2015 (tickets still available, book now).

But Birmingham has other claims to fame.

  1. Birmingham became a city in 1889
  2. Much of its drinking water comes from Wales (the Elan Valley dams)
  3. Birmingham is home to Cadbury’s Chocolate. In fact Bournville Station in Birmingham is painted the colour of Dairy Milk packaging.  Also Bird’s custard, Typhoo tea and HP sauce are from the city.
  4. Officially Spaghetti Junction is known as the Gravelly Hill Interchange (who knew that?)
  5. The first x-ray ever was taken in Birmingham in 1896.
  6. Gas lighting was invented in Birmingham. The first domestic building to be lit by gas was also in Birmingham (in 1798). This wasn’t too much of a coincidence: it was the home of the inventor William Murdock.
  7. James Watt was from Birmingham, he invented the steam engine as we understand it and the photocopier. He is immortalised in the measure of energy: the Watt.
  8. Sir Alec Issigonis lived in Birmingham. While he was there he designed both the Morris Minor and the Mini. Either one of which would have been career defining.
  9. Birmingham is bigger, better and less rainy than Manchester.
  10. Birmingham is the most culturally mixed city in the UK. Sorry London.
  11. And it has more parks than any city in Europe.
  12. Balti may, or may not, have been invented in Birmingham but Birmingham Balti is a unique and distinctive cultural phenomenon.
  13. Lawn tennis was invented in Brmingham (in 1859 by Harry Gem since you ask).
  14. Gandalf was a Brummie. Or at least JRR Tolkien was and Birmingham landmarks inflect his work, not necessarily in a very positive manner.
  15. The FA Cup was made in Birmingham (in case you’re wondering the original and the replacement made when the original was stolen were both from the city).
A mostly truthful collection of 15 facts about Birmingham

3 thoughts on “A mostly truthful collection of 15 facts about Birmingham

  • May 15, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Hi Jason

    Interesting article. Though I think living in the city (or a bit that is NOW the city) for 16 years probably counts. If we exclude him because he only spent some of his life there, we’d have to ask Shropshire to give up its claim to Telford or Darwin.

    I agree that his books seem to be a very long discourse on how much he hated modernisation, progress and, by extension, Birmingham. But surely that just goes to show what a laid back and forgiving place Birmingham is.

    Maybe this could be a BlueLightCamp workshop (maybe not).


  • May 15, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Hi Ben – I do agree with you and no doubt you realised this, but my comments should be taken with a healthy pinch of salt, as I’m sure the original author intended with his savage deconstruction of the reactionary Tolkien.

    Anyway, Arsehole Mill (sorry, Sarehole Mill) is a fine place to saunter around on a lazy Sunday, as any Hall Greener will tell you and Moseley Bog lives up to its regal name in more ways than one (I once got shot in the left cheek there but that’s another story)

    As for the workshop, I’ll pitch the session if you don’t 😉

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