Birmingham town guide
Birmingham considers itself the second city of England and as the centre of the West Midlands conurbation it could be said that such acclaim is justified. The city stands at the centre of the UK motorway and rail network with good transport links to all parts of the UK.
In the Middle Ages Birmingham was small town specializing in metal work. The area was rich in coal and iron but had poor transport infrastructure. With the coming of the canals, trade developed apace and Birmingham became the centre of the manufacture of guns, jewellery, pins, buttons, screws, buckles and toys and by 1790 the population had reached 90,000. The development of the railway system stimulated further economic growth resulting in the great city we see today.
Many of the early pioneers of industrialisation were associated with Birmingham. James Brindley in particular is now commemorated in Brindley Place. His canals can still be explored around Birmingham and in Gas Street Basin the canal has been the centre of a rejuvenation of an inner city area.
More of the industrial heritage of the area can be visited by hire car at the Black Country Musuem in Dudley, a wonderful exposition of the industrial heritage of the Black Country and Birmingham.
A little further away, but still easily accessible by rental car, is the model town of Bournville home to Cadburys Chocolate and now a tourist attraction in its own right as Cadbury World.