Birmingham History

Birmingham

Evidence that Birmingham is an ancient settlement is provided by artefacts dating back 10,400 years discovered near Curzon Street in the city centre.

In the early 7th century, Birmingham was an Anglo-Saxon farming hamlet on the banks of the River Rea. Birmingham was first recorded in written documents by the Domesday Book of 1086 as a small village, worth only 20 shillings.

As early as the 16th century, Birmingham's access to supplies of iron ore and coal meant that metalworking industries became established. By the time of the English Civil War in the 17th century, Birmingham had become an important manufacturing town with a reputation for producing small arms. Arms manufacture in Birmingham became a staple trade and was concentrated in the area known as the Gun Quarter.

By the 1820s, an extensive canal system had been constructed, giving greater access to natural resources to fuel to industries. Railways arrived in Birmingham in 1837 with the arrival of the Grand Junction Railway, and a year later, the London and Birmingham Railway. During the Victorian era, the population of Birmingham grew rapidly to well over half a million and Birmingham became the second largest population centre in England. Birmingham was granted city status in 1889 by Queen Victoria.The city established its own university in 1900.

During World War II's Birmingham Blitz the city suffered heavy bomb damage and was extensively redeveloped during the 1950s and 1960s. In recent years, Birmingham has been transformed, with the construction of new areas like Centenary Square and Millennium Place. Old streets, buildings and canals have been restored, the pedestrian subways have been removed, and the Bull Ring shopping centre has been completely redeveloped.