History of Birmingham
Birmingham has a rich history that makes it a unique and inspiring place to visit. It is the 2nd most populous city in England. The history of Birmingham dates back 10,500 years ago when the Stone Age hunters wandered the grasslands and forests along the River Rea valley. Although the evidence is limited, it is believed that it began as a Saxon village.
In the early 12th century it emerged as a town. In 1166 the King gave Peter De Birmingham, the Lord of the Manor, the right to conduct a weekly market at Birmingham. After the market was established, many merchants came to live in Birmingham. Soon it emerged as a busy little town.
In 16th and 17th Century
During the 16th century, Birmingham expanded rapidly. In the Middle Ages there was just one fair but by the early 16th century there were 2 fairs. Furthermore, by the middle of the century, there were 3 markets. The corn market, the Welsh market and the English market. Apart from this, the newer industry of metalworking was fast taking over. In the middle of the 16th century, a grammar school was founded in Birmingham.
In 18th Century
An important achievement was St Phillips Church, which was built in 1715. During this era, the industry of Birmingham boomed. Metalworking of all kinds prospered in the town. The objects included buckles for shoes, pins, blades, nails and screws. There were plenty of locksmiths and gunsmiths. Moreover, in 1769 an act of parliament established a body called Street Commissioners. They had the power to clean and light the street of Birmingham. The general Hospital was built in 1779 in Birmingham.
In 19th Century
In the late 19th-century railway carriages and bicycles were made. Another important industry that emerged in the 19th century was Glass industry. By the end of 19th-century, cocoa and chocolate industry were booming as well.
As far as sanitary conditions are concerned, the first half of the 19th century was dirty and unsanitary. But in the second half, conditions improved. Sewers were dug under the streets and law was passed that stated all new houses must be linked to the sewers.
Some Historical Facts About Birmingham
- Victoria Square has the largest fountain in Europe with the flow of 3000 gallons per minute. It is known as The River.
- Birmingham’s first canal was opened in 1769 and attached Birmingham to Wednesbury. There are many locks on the canal like Guillotine Lock in Kings Norton. It controls the flow of water between canals.
- Birmingham is home to Cadbury’s Chocolate. George and Richard Cadbury moved in their successful chocolate manufacturing business from Bull Street to Bournville in 1879.
- Birmingham is home to the historic Bullring. It is a site of a market for more than 800 years.
- James Watt lived in Birmingham developed the engine. Watt invented the letter copying the machine as well.
Thus, Birmingham city was once known as the city of thousand trades. It was the leading producer of pens, buckles, guns and jewellery.