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Birmingham is a metropolitan borough and a city in the West Midlands, located on the River Rea. The city is very popular and is the largest British city outside London. In 2014, there were about 1,101,360 people residing in the city.
During the medieval period, the city was a medium-sized market town and developed into a global prominence by the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution led the town at the top of worldwide advances in economic development, science and technology. The city was considered as “the world’s first manufacturing town” by 1791.
The Industrial steam engine was discovered in the city which was marked as the most significant discovery in the British history. The Nazi German Luftwaffe bombed the city and the nearby towns heavily from 1940 to 1943. This damaged the infrastructure of the city and Birmingham had to go through the redevelopment in order to restore the city.
Today, the service sector has the lion’s share in the economy of the city. Birmingham has been ranked as gamma+ world city by the Globalisation and World Cities Research Network. The city is an essential retail, conference, events and transport hub and also a prime worldwide commercial hub. In 2014, the metropolitan economy of the city was $121.1 billion which is the 2nd largest in the UK. The city is also the largest hub of higher education in England with 6 universities. The Library of Birmingham, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and the Birmingham Royal Ballet are the major cultural institutions which are marked worldwide. The city stands on the 4th position in the list of most visited cities of United Kingdom.
The city is a major transport centre on rail, canal and motorway networks. The motorways such as M40, M5, M42 and M6 serve the city. The M6 motorway runs through Birmingham on the Bromford Viaduct (United Kingdom’s longest bridge).
The Birmingham Airport is present about 10 kilometres east of the city centre. The airport is the 7th busiest airport in the United Kingdom and 3rd busiest (after Edinburgh and Manchester) outside London.
The Birmingham New Street railway station is the busiest station outside London, in the UK. The station has most widespread long-distance train network in Britain, a national hub for CrossCountry and a major destination for Virgin Trains services from Glasgow Central, London Euston and Edinburgh Waverley. Transport for West Midlands operates the local public transport in the city whereas the bus routes are mainly coordinated by the National Express West Midlands.
The city accommodates 5 universities, including University College Birmingham, Aston University, Birmingham City University, Newman University and the University of Birmingham. Birmingham is also home to major campuses of BPP University and the University of Law. The city had about 78,260 (aged between 18 and 74) full-time students residing in the city in 2011, during term period. The city has the highest number of research students than any other major city outside London. In 1902, Sir William Ashley founded a business school named The Birmingham Business School which is now the oldest graduate-level business school in the UK. Birmingham City Business School and Aston Business School are other top business schools based in the city.
The city is a significant hub for religious education and houses Queen’s College, Edgbaston, St Mary’s College, Oscott and Woodbroke Quaker Study Centre. The city also homes Birmingham Metropolitan College which is England’s largest further education college.
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