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Birmingham's early history is that of a remote and marginal area.
The main centres of population, power and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.
The bombings were the worst terror attacks in England up until the 2005 London bombings and consisted of bombs being planted in two pubs in Central Birmingham.
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom (after London) and the most populous city in the English Midlands.
A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science, technology, and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society.
Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and highly skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The resulting high level of social mobility also fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, and a pivotal role in the development of British democracy.
Birmingham's tradition of innovation continued into the 19th century.
Birmingham was the terminus for both of the world's first two long-distance railway lines: the 82 mile Grand Junction Railway of 1837 and the 112-mile London and Birmingham Railway of 1838.