Thursday, August 6, 2009

Birmingham, The City Of A Thousand Trades

The city dubbed as the “workshop of the world” and “the city of a thousand trades” – Birmingham – lies in the West Midlands region of England. After London, it is the second most populated country in Britain and it is quite popular for its relevance as a tourist spot and as a center of commercial activity in the United Kingdom.

Undeniably, one can say that if you know the rich history of this city, you definitely have a good view of how the whole of Britain developed into what it is now. So, for those interested in the inspiring cultural and historical growth of the United Kingdom as a dominating world power, then a look into the development of Birmingham is definitely a must.

Its early beginnings…

Birmingham had humble beginnings. It was first recorded as a small village that was worth no more than twenty shillings as written in the Domesday Book of 1086. Based on the narratives, the place which extended on to the banks of the River Rea was just a farming hamlet occupied by an Anglo Saxon community during the sixth century. Although there were many variations in the name of the town, the most popular of which was “Bremingham”. It got its name from the phrase "Breme inga ham", which means “home of the descendants of Breme.”

Birmingham was also known as “Bermingeham” and “Bromwicham”. These earlier names were used as a basis for naming other important factors in the growing society. “Brummagen”, a dialect and accent name was derived from the word “Bromwicham”. Now people simply refer to this native language as the “Brummie dialect” and the people from the city are referred to as “Brummies”.

The transformation of the simple town

The evolution of Birmingham as a farming community to a manufacturing site was gradual. Its expansion was quite slow but definitely steady as it ranked the third biggest town in the county of Warwickshire during the 1300’s. While other towns developed as a prime settlement, Birmingham catered to traders and manufacturers of fabric and metal products. At that time, the castle of Birmingham became an important power base not just for the constituents of the town but for those interested in trade in the western part of Britain.

During the fourteenth century, the population of the town reached a thousand and the thriving local industry now involved tanning. The trade links also expanded as alliances with East Anglia and Bristol were formed. Little did the civil war do in hampering the town’s growth. It became a trading and manufacturing town of high status and it started to export metal products to London and Europe. Over the years, its industrial importance increased. Now, it is one of the best places to start a business in the United Kingdom and it has become a national commercial center of Europe.