Tuesday, 30 August 2011

there is beauty in the city : city visit to birmingham

During the post made to announce last month's Manchester visit, i made reference to the idea of the England's second city and posited that in many peoples eyes, and particularly in cultural terms, Manchester is the holder of that title over its more populous rival Birmingham.

In population terms, the figures speak for themselves - 2006 estimates put the population of;
Birmingham at 1,006,500 within the broader West Midlands conurbation totalling 2,284,093 and
Manchester at 452,000 within Greater Manchester which totalled 2,240,230.

But for the debate as to which claims the second city status to have raged for so long means that factors other than population obviously come into play - including geography, economic contribution, educational establishments,  "knowledge and transport infrastructure" and, most contentiously, cultural. It is this "cultural" area which often leads to Manchester's elevation to the second city status, but with no real hard facts underlying it. It has almost become an accepted truth that Birmingham is a cultural wasteland and Manchester is a Western Bohemia. Whilst it maybe fair to say that behind every generalisation lies a modicum of fact the truth is rarely so polarised.

And so it with this in mind that we here at There is Beauty in the City will head to Birmingham and take a walk around its cultural beacons, in search of England's undoubted second most populous city's beauty. In the meantime...some Birmingham facts -

It's council motto is Global City Local Heart
There are over 8,000 acres (3,237 ha) of parkland open spaces in Birmingham. In fact Birmingham has more trees than Paris, more miles of canals than Venice and more parks than any other European City.
Birmingham is the UK’s largest manufacturing and engineering centre and accounts for 25% of the country’s exports.
Birmingham is the home of the Balti curry.
Britains first ever 4 wheel petrol driven car was made in Birmingham by Frederick Lanchester in 1895
Major John Hall Edwards took the first x-ray photo in Birmingham in 1896
Birmingham has six twin cities
  • United States Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Germany Frankfurt am Main, Germany[187]
  • South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Germany Leipzig, Germany[188]
  • France Lyon, France[189]
  • Italy Milan, Italy
and finally, the following, all creatives, all hail from Birmingham
  • Albert Austin – (Silent film star)
  • Pato Banton – (Reggae artist)
  • Blaze Bayley – (Musician - former vocalist of Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden)
  • Sir Michael Balcon – (Film director)
  • Alfred Bird – (Inventor of custard powder)
  • Justin Broadrick – (Musician - Godflesh)
  • Geezer Butler – bassist of (Black Sabbath)
  • Pogus Caesar – (TV Director and Photographer)
  • John Cadbury – (Founder of the Cadbury chocolate company)
  • Ali Campbell and Robin Campbell – (Musician, UB40)
  • Barbara Cartland – (Novelist)
  • Jasper Carrott – (Comedian)
  • Lisa Clayton – (Solo yachtswoman)
  • David Cox – (Artist)
  • Cat Deeley – (Television presenter)
  • Oscar Deutsch – (Founder of the Odeon Cinemas chain)
  • Hunt Emerson – (Cartoonist)
  • Mick St Clair – (Pinjabi DJ/Producer)
  • Ian Emes – (animator)
  • Frederick Roland Emett – (Cartoonist, artist and kinetic sculptor)
  • Niki Evans – (Singer)
  • Trevor Eve – (Actor)
  • Sid Field – (Comedian)
  • Sir Francis Galton – (Scientist, founder of eugenics)
  • Roland Gift – (Actor and musician - Fine Young Cannibals)
  • Mark "Barney" Greenway –(Musician - Napalm Death)
  • Rob Halford – (Musician - Judas Priest)
  • Charlie Hall – (Actor - most famous for his work with Laurel and Hardy)
  • John Hampson – (novelist)
  • Tony Hancock – (Comedian and actor)
  • Mr Hudson – (singer)
  • Raymond Huntley – (Actor)
  • Tony Iommi – guitarist of (Black Sabbath)
  • Jamelia – (R&B singer))
  • Edward Burne-Jones – (Pre-Raphaelite painter)
  • Albert William Ketèlbey – (Composer)
  • Denny Laine – (Paul McCartney and Wings)
  • Jeff Lynne – (Musician; co-founder of the Electric Light Orchestra)
  • Eric Maschwitz – (lyricist)
  • Nick Mason – (Musician - Pink Floyd; did not reside in Birmingham)
  • Zena McNally – (Singer - Mis-Teeq)
  • Shazia Mirza – (Comedian)
  • Henry Vollam Morton – (Journalist and travel writer)
  • Constance Naden – (Poet & Philosopher)
  • Ozzy Osbourne – singer of (Black Sabbath)
  • Carl Palmer – (Musician - Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
  • John Poole – (Sculptor)
  • Enoch Powell – (Politician, poet and classical scholar)
  • Michael Pinder – (Musician - The Moody Blues)
  • Nick Rhodes – (Musician - Duran Duran)
  • Pat Roach – (Actor and wrestler)
  • Sax Rohmer – (Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward) – (novelist)
  • Martin Shaw – (actor)
  • Sukshinder Shinda – (English born Punjabi music producer and artist)
  • John Taylor – (Musician - Duran Duran)
  • Roger Taylor – (Musician - Duran Duran)
  • Bill Ward – drummer of (Black Sabbath)
  • Willard Wigan – (Sculptor)
  • Toyah Willcox – (Singer, actress and television presenter)
  • Steve Winwood – (Musician—solo artist and co-founder, Traffic)
  • Chris Wood – (Musician; co-founder, Traffic)
  • Roy Wood – (Musician - co-founder of the Electric Light Orchestra)

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