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Fun facts about Birmingham

Looking for a reason to visit Birmingham for ECSCRM 2018?

Here are a few fun facts about our host city:


Black SabbathNot only is Birmingham famous for one of the best heavy metal and rock scenes in British history, with Birmingham legends Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Tony Iommi, Robert Plant, Steve Winwood, John Bonham and ELO placing the city on the music map, we’ve also pioneered the UK’s reggae and bhangra scenes with the likes of Steel Pulse, UB40, Macka B, Pato Banton, Malkit Singh and Apache Indian leading the charge.
Of course, we haven’t lacked in all other kinds of music either, giving the world Duran Duran, Ocean Colour Scene, The Beat, The Moody Blues, The Twang, The Streets, Bev Bevan, Jamelia and Peace. Then there’s the jazz, blues, folk, Supersonic, Frontiers, Fusion and Eastern Electronic music festivals held in the city every year and over 36,000 people watch inspirational and varied musical performances by the world famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) every year.

And without Birmingham based company Aston Broadcast Systems, karaoke as we know it wouldn’t exist. They developed the world's first high definition character generator, also know as screen-captions, "astons" or lower thirds!


St ChadSt Chad’s Cathedral was designed by the same architect that designed Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London, Sir Charles Barry.

Birmingham Cathedral has stained glass windows designed by the British master of stained glass himself, Edward Burne-Jones, who was himself from Birmingham.

Soho House was the home of inventor and pioneering industrialist Matthew Boulton, who, in his time, had a personal fortune equivalent to twice that of Microsoft mogul Bill Gates!

The new Birmingham Library is 31,000 square metres, making it one of the largest public libraries in the world.Selfridges building

The Selfridges department store building which forms part of the Bullring shopping centre is an iconic representation of “blobitecture” - buildings which have an organic, amoeba-shaped, building form. The building was designed by Future Systems and is intended to evoke the female silhouette and a famous "chainmail" dress designed by Paco Rabanne.


90% of the UK is within 4 hours of Birmingham and London is only an hour and 25 minutes away on the train.


BaltiWe created the world famous Balti (which is right up there with fish and chips as the nation’s favourite dish). A balti is a type of curry served in a thin, pressed-steel wok called a "balti bowl" which gives the dish it's name. The city boasts over 100 balti houses, many of which can be found in the city’s famous Balti Triangle, attract over 20,000 visitors each week.

In 1980, the world’s hottest curry was served in Birmingham, made from fiery naga chillies cultivated at the foot of the Himalayas.


Birmingham’s Bullring is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe and has been “the place to shop” since the middle ages, hosting markets since the 12th Century. The centre's mascot, Bully, a six-tonne bronze sculpture, twice the size of a real bull was installed in 2003. He likes to change his attire for special occasions and has been recognised as one of the UK's top works of public art.

For over 250 years Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter has been a national epicentre for jewellery design– producing an estimated 40% of the UK’s jewellery.


Birmingham is home to 1.1 million people and nearly a third of residents are of minority ethnic origin, bringing a rich cultural mix to the city. We’re proud that we have people living here from all over the world including Ireland, Africa, China, Poland, Russia, America…. Birmingham is a shining example of how people from different backgrounds can all live happily together.

Arts and Culture!

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has the world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and untpre Raphaelitesil mid-September is hosting the world famous Dippy the Diplodocus on his national tour. Get your free tickets here!

The Birmingham Hippodrome is the busiest theatre in the UK with over 520,000 visitors a year.


The HLord of the rings towers inspirationobbit and Lord of the Rings were inspired by people and places in Birmingham. The twin towers were from the book inspired by the Edgbaston water works! Their author, J.R.R. Tolkien, was from Birmingham.

Reverend Wilbert Awdry wrote the famous Thomas the Tank Engine books in Birmingham.Thomas the Tank Engine


For city that is toCanalstally landlocked (the nearest beach is 120 miles away in Weston-Super-Mare), we have an impressive amount of watery wonders. Thanks to its innovative 18th century industrialists building a canal network to aid trading networks, the city has more miles of canals than Venice with 35 miles (56 kilometres) of waterways.

Green spaces!Library roof terrace

With over 8,000 acres of parks and open space, Birmingham is one of the greenest cities in Europe. According to the city council, that is more than Paris!

At the Birminhgam Library there are two elevated garden terraces – the Discovery Terrace on level 3 and The Secret Garden on level 7 which provide green spaces right in the heart of the city. They are planted with a variety of species including fruit, vegetables and herbs to provide colour and interest throughout the year.


Whilst it sounds like a far-fetched claim we know, renowned Birmingham based minister Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774.


BirSpaghetti Junctionmingham’s Spaghetti junction is famous around the world. People travel here from across the globe just to drive around it.
Perhaps you spotted it as you flew in?

Birmingham was the first place in the UK to have a hydrogen fill up point for cars. At one point, it was the only hydrogen fill up point in the UK!


Cadbury WorldCadbury’s Chocolate and Bourneville Drinking Chocolate are made in Bourneville, just outside the city.
Bird’s Custard, HP Sauce and Typhoo Tea are all from Birmingham too!

The city has 5 Michelin-starred restaurants - more than any UK city other than London… Yum!