Birmingham City Council is the largest European council and the second largest local authority in the UK. It has some 120 councillors representing 40 wards. The council’s headquarters are in Birmingham’s Victoria Square. Birmingham currently has eleven parliamentary constituencies.
The City Council also funds, supports and organises numerous events and activities throughout the year. Birmingham’s tourism plays an important role in the local economy and with the major facilities of the International Convention Centre and the National Exhibition Centre, the Birmingham area accounts for approximately 42% of the UK conference and exhibition trade. Birmingham’s cultural and sporting venues also attract a large number of UK and foreign visitors.
Birmingham, from a business point, was once known as the “City of a Thousand Trades” however, such trades have gradually diminished with some 70 – 80% of Birmingham businesses now being mainly service orientated. Birmingham businesses covering Finance, Investment, Insurance, Commodities, Consultancies, Support Services etc., are on the increase, so are Employment Agencies who are now mainly acting on behalf of clients with professional qualifications, plus of course the ex graduates from Birmingham’s three universities.
Such Birmingham businesses should always be fortunate to have qualified graduates knocking on their doors and should, therefore, never be short of such personnel seeking employment for the first time. Such people, not being tainted in the ways of previous employers, should be ideal for all those employers wishing to train new blood in the ways beneficial to their own companies.
Birmingham’s main advantages over the likes of London, is its central location, which is easily accessed by major roads and motorways, including perhaps the best known motorway junction in the UK, Spaghetti Junction. It is also well served by the Inter City rail network, with Birmingham’s main railway station, New Street Station being at the centre of this network and also by air via Birmingham International Airport. Birmingham’s more affordable and quality office space and just as important for drivers, it’s more than adequate parking facilities which generally are available throughout Birmingham. All these key business points puts Birmingham in the front line of UK city’s as the most popular area for service organisations.
For employees living in or near Birmingham, local transport in the form of bus, tram and local trains are readily available. There is also a terminus at Snow Hill Station for the Midland Metro which links Birmingham to Wolverhampton and serves nearby towns of Bilston, Wednesbury and West Bromwich.
Birmingham also has an extensive system of canals and is said to have more miles of canals than Italy’s Venice. Recent regeneration schemes have turned the canals into tourist attractions. Birmingham also benefits greatly from the local National Exhibition Centre and its numerous trade shows, which take place throughout the year. For Birmingham businesses wishing to use trade trade stands, their expenditure in displaying stands, plus the obvious transportation costs are far less than those businesses having to transport their wears from locations further afield.
For those people considering an employment move to Birmingham, there are properties to suit all pockets and employment status, either for sale or rent and within or in close proximity to Birmingham. For those looking beyond the Birmingham business and property arenas, we have considered and provided information below regarding the various leisure activities, professional sport viewing, theatres, museums, education, places of interest, parks etc., that are available locally or in close proximity to Birmingham.
Perhaps one of the most important points to consider for parents of younger children is education. Birmingham City Council is England’s largest Local Education Authority, being responsible directly or indirectly for the running of some 25 nursery schools, 328 primary schools, 77 secondary schools and 29 special schools. Most of Birmingham’s state schools are community schools, run directly by Birmingham City Council. There are also a number of voluntary aided schools within the state system. There are also further education colleges, offering numerous and varied courses, plus three universities. Education opportunities and their availability within Birmingham can only be considered as excellent.
In the sporting field, Birmingham has two professional football clubs in Birmingham City and Aston Villa, both of whom have had, following promotion in 2009 to the Premiership, a successful season and will be joined in the 2010-2011 season by local rivals West Bromwich Albion following their promotion from the Championship. Birmingham is also home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, based at Edgbaston, the Edgbaston ground also hosts tests and international one day matches. There is also the Birmingham Brummies Speedway team based at Perry Bar, Birmingham & Solihull Rugby Union Club and Moseley Rugby Union Club, both currently playing in the Championship League. Horse Racing is also available a short distance away at Warwick. In athletics, international track and field meetings take place at the Alexandra Stadium, the home of Birchfield Harriers Athletic Club. International lawn tennis also takes place at Edgbastons Priory Club. Birmingham is also home to the professional basketball team, Birmingham Panthers, with Greyhound racing also available in the city.
Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena, internationally acclaimed as one of the World’s finest indoor venues, holds a number of Athletic meetings during the year. It has also played host to World and European Championships. In the field of leisure Birmingham is perhaps second to none, with virtually everything in the field of leisure and sport available to the keen amateur, with Athletics, Paintballing, Golf, Tennis, Table Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Basket Ball, Net Ball, Bowls, Ten Pin Bowling, Hockey, Boxing, Course Fishing, Gym & Fitness Facilities, Golf, Soccer, Cricket, Rugby Union etc., available to anyone interested.
In rock music, Birmingham has often been described as the birthplace of heavy metal music, with Magnum, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and two members of the great Led Zeppelin, lead singer Robert Plant and drummer, the late John Bonam being local. Duran Duran, ELO & UB40 are also from the Birmingham area. For places of interest, again Birmingham provides it all, either within the city or locally. Birmingham itself boasts Millennium Point, with its Think Tank, which replaced the former Science & Industry museum, the most modern of science museums, and also its Planetarium and Imax Cinema. The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery contains leading displays of art work which includes a collection of work by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the largest collection of works by Edward Burne-Jones. Other museums include Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Soho House and Sarehole Mill, a popular attraction for J.R.R.Tolkien fans. The Barber Institute is both an art gallery and concert hall. It also contains a large coin collection, said to be one of the World’s most detailed.
Birmingham also has Cadbury World, Brindley Place, a major canal side development, with its National Sea Life Centre and stylish bars, cafes and restaurants. There are also numerous theatres, cinemas, museums, century old halls and houses in Birmingham. The Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses is well worth a visit with various hands on activities available throughout the year. Birmingham is also home to more parks than any other European city. There is over 8,000 acres of parkland in Birmingham with Sutton Park, the largest, covering some 2,400 acres. Cannon Hill Park in Edgbaston, is also worthy of a visit. Birmingham also boasts a record breaking 14 consecutive gold medals from the Chelsea Flower Show and maintains some 6,000,000 trees. For the lovers of gold and precious gems, there is also the world renowned Birmingham Jewellery Quarter and its museum. A must see for all visitors.
The City Library, Europe’s largest, is Birmingham’s biggest building and loans some 8,000,000 books each year. The varied Birmingham population has a wide and diverse number of religious buildings at their disposal including St Phillips, which was upgraded in status from church to cathedral in 1905, Birmingham has two other cathedrals, the Roman Catholic St Chad’s and the Greek Orthodox Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew. There is also the parish church of St Martin in the Bull Ring, the Singers Hill Synagogue, Birmingham Central Mosque and a re-developed mosque in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, the largest in the City, to name but a few.
For the shoppers amongst us, Birmingham has excellent and varied shops and stores, including the revamped Bull Ring Centre, the country’s busiest shopping centre, with its indoor, open and rag markets. The largest department store outside London, in the House of Fraser, Birmingham is also home to one of only four Selfridges Department Stores plus the second largest Debenhams branch in the country. If you want to take your shopping experience to a totally new level why not visit The Mailbox with its designer stores?
Birmingham’s Broad Street is the place to be after a hard day’s work. There are bars and clubs a plenty here and you will be sure to find something to suit your taste of the day. As well as the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham is also home to the International Convention Centre and the National Exhibition Centre which includes the LG Arena.
The NIA & LG Arena already have internationally known artists and shows booked for 2010 which include JLS, Strictly Come Dancing Live, The X Factor Live, Elvis Presley in Concert, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Westlife, Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, Leona Lewis, Moody Blues, Katherine Jenkins, Ronan Keating, The Four Tops & Temptations and Rod Stewart. The Birmingham Hotels are very varied offering accommodation to suite all tastes and pockets. The range from five star penthouse and executive accommodation to the more affordable bed and breakfast type.
The numerous Birmingham Restaurants offer a wide and varied international cuisine at a price range to suit all pockets. It is also the home of three Michelin starred chefs & restaurants in Purnell’s, Simpsons and Turners. Birmingham is also well known for its Chinese Quarter a colourful and vibrant community, offering restaurants and food second to none. In close proximity to Birmingham there are numerous places of interest such as Dudley Zoo, The Living Black Country Museum, West Midland Safari Park, Severn Valley Railway, Drayton Manor Park Warwick Castle, to name but a few.
Jazz also has a following in Birmingham and the annual Birmingham Jazz Festival is the largest in the UK. The internationally known City of Birmingham’s Symphony Orchestra’s home venue is Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. The Birmingham Royal Ballet is also city housed and so is the world’s oldest vocational dance school, Elmhurst School for Dance
In demographics the Birmingham population, from information available in 2007, was estimated as being 66.7% white, 21% Asian, 6.7% Black, 1.2% Chinese, 3.2% of mixed race and 1.2% of other ethnic heritage, 16.5% of the population were born outside the UK. In religion the estimated figures are 59.1% Christian, 14.3% Muslim, 2.9% Sikh, 2% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist & 0.2% Jewish, those with non religious beliefs accounted for 12.4% and no answer was offered by 8.4% of the population.
Two of the UK’s largest banks originated in Birmingham, Lloyds Bank (now Lloyds Banking Group following its takeover of TSB & HBOS) in 1765 and the Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank) in 1836. Birmingham is also home to daily papers the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail and also the Sunday Mercury. There are also a number of free papers in circulation, Forward is a free sheet, produced by Birmingham City Council and circulated to homes in the city, there is also a Metro edition covering the West Midlands. The edition covering the East Midlands is also based in Birmingham
The West Midlands Police Force oversees Birmingham and the County of the West Midlands, with its headquarters based in the city centre at Lloyds House. Birmingham is served by numerous national and regional radio plus local stations, which include BRMB, Heart, Smooth, BBC WM and Galaxy. As a point of interest The Archers, probably the world’s longest running soap radio series, is recorded for BBC Radio 4 in Birmingham.
We hope that you have found the aforementioned information associated with Birmingham and its surrounding areas of interest, and wish you, if we have convinced you that Birmingham is the place to be, “All the Best” in your future Birmingham involvement.