Like many other cities, Birmingham has a link with the Roman Empire. The city was mentioned as far back as 1086 in the Doomsday Book, and developed into an important trade centre from the 12th century onward. During the 17th century, a large weapons industry grew up. Among others, Birmingham provided Oliver Cromwell’s army with weapons and later on they supplied Napoleon. During the golden age of the Industrial Revolution, the city grew rapidly thanks to its supplies of iron, coal and labour. Subsequently, Birmingham became an important hub in England’s canal and train networks, and these days the city has a network of over 60 km of canals and other waterways, which is more than Venice. Today the canals are mostly used for pleasure boating, making it a perfect way to discover Birmingham.
During the Second World War, large areas of the city were destroyed, and the city centre was rebuilt. In recent years, however, an architectural renaissance has occurred and old squares, streets and waterways have been restored and renovated. Many typical British brands, and frequently world famous brands have been created here, including Bakelite, Cadbury’s, Brylcreem, HP Sauce and Typhoo Tea. The city’s inhabitants include J. R. R. Tolkien and Ozzy Osbourne.
Today, Birmingham is a fast growing tourist destination with a compact, pedestrian-friendly city centre and where many exciting attractions are waiting to get explored. A city full of surprises where the English old world charm meets the new and young vibrant atmosphere thanks to the many students in the city.