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Posted by kaori 04/09/2009 @ 00:08

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News headlines
Christian Benitez Reveals Delight At Birmingham City 'Dream Move' -
Birmingham City made their first major swoop of the summer, as they signed Christian Benitez for a fee reported to be in the region of £9 million - a club record - as manager Alex McLeish looks to build a squad that can compete in the Premier League....
LDV's parliament lobby cancelled - BBC News
Managers and workers at Birmingham van maker LDV have been forced to cancel a lobby of parliament because of the cabinet reshuffle. The group was told there would be no ministers to meet them because of events at Westminster....
Seven-year-old girl starved to death by her mother -
Birmingham Crown Court heard that Khyra and the children slept in one room upstairs in the terraced home, despite there being two other upstairs rooms. For months, despite a fridge, freezer and cupboards being full of food, they were occasionally given...
Golden Age Games give aging vets chance to shine - The Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — William Trumbly was in combat almost from the moment he hit the ground on Normandy Beach in 1944 shortly after D-Day until he was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. When the first shots were fired in his direction,...
Auto sales in metro Birmingham up for third-straight month - - The Birmingham News -
Birmingham-area auto dealers are sensing a reversal of fortune after a third-consecutive month of sales gains, despite continued turmoil in an industry that has been slammed by the worst economic downturn in decades. Sales of new automobiles in the...
Hyatt Place Birmingham/Downtown Celebrates Grand Opening - Hotel Interactive, Inc.
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Southern Hospitality Services, The Welden Field Group, Corporate Realty Development, and Golden and Associates Construction today announce the opening of Hyatt Place Birmingham/Downtown. Ideally located at the corner of 4th...
Labour bags prominent Birmingham seat -
But Mr Brown did receive a boost when Labour swept to victory in a Lozells and East Handsworth Birmingham City Council by-election as candidate Hendrina Quinnen secured a majority of 1018. Teacher Ms Quinnen said: “The real winners are all the people...
Birmingham News to cut employee pay -
The Birmingham News will cut employee salaries up to 8 percent in a revenue-saving measure, the newspaper announced Tuesday. Birmingham's daily newspaper used employee furloughs and buyouts earlier this year to trim costs....
Metro Birmingham forecast: Rain should be fading out today setting ... -
Light rain over metro Birmingham should be gone by mid-morning today, according to the National Weather Service. The results should be a pleasant day with highs in the upper 80s with clearing skies. The coming weekend offers promise under the forecast....
Ranking improves for Birmingham area unemployment rate - The Birmingham News -
The Birmingham-Hoover metro area jobless rate in April ranked No. 18 among the nation's 49 metro areas with at least 1 million residents, government figures show. The unemployment rate in Alabama's largest metro area fell to 7.7 percent in April from...


Birmingham shown within England and the West Midlands

Birmingham ( pronunciation (help·info), /ˈbɝːmɪŋəm/ BəH-ming-əm) is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands county of England. Birmingham is the most populous of England's core cities, and is the second-most populous British city, with a population of 1,010,200 (2005 estimate). Often considered to be the second city of the United Kingdom, the City of Birmingham forms part of the larger West Midlands conurbation, which has a population of 2,284,093 (2001 census) and includes several neighbouring towns and cities, such as Solihull, Wolverhampton and the towns of the Black Country.

The city's reputation was forged as a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution in England, a fact which led to Birmingham being known as "the workshop of the world" or the "city of a thousand trades". Although Birmingham's industrial importance has declined, it has developed into a national commercial centre, being named as the third-best place in the United Kingdom to locate a business, and the 21st best in Europe by Cushman & Wakefield in 2007. It is also the fourth-most visited city by foreign visitors in the UK. In 1998, Birmingham hosted the G8 summit at the International Convention Centre, on the site of Bingley Hall, the world's first purpose-built exhibition hall, and remains a popular location for conventions today along with the National Exhibition Centre in nearby Solihull. In 2007, Birmingham was ranked as the 55th-most livable city in the world and the second most in the UK, according to the Mercer Index of worldwide standards of living.

People from Birmingham are known as 'Brummies', a term derived from the city's nickname of Brum. This comes in turn from the city's dialect name, Brummagem, which is derived from one of the city's earlier names, 'Bromwicham'. There is a distinctive Brummie dialect and accent, both of which differ from the adjacent Black Country.

In the 6th century, Birmingham was an Anglo-Saxon farming hamlet on the banks of the River Rea. The name 'Birmingham' comes from "Breme inga ham", meaning home of the sons (or descendants) of Breme. Birmingham was first recorded in written documents by the Domesday Book of 1086 as a small village, worth only 20 shillings. There were many variations on this name. Bermingeham is another version.

In 1166 the holder of the manor of Birmingham, Peter de Birmingham, was granted a royal charter to hold a market in his castle, which in time became known as the Bull Ring, transforming Birmingham from a village to a market town. The de Birmingham family continued to be Lords of Birmingham until the 1530s when Edward de Birmingham was cheated out of its lordship by the traitor John Dudley.

As early as the 16th century, Birmingham's access to supplies of iron ore and coal meant that metalworking industries became established.

By the time of the English Civil War in the 17th century, Birmingham had become an important manufacturing town with a reputation for producing small arms. Arms manufacture in Birmingham became a staple trade and was concentrated in the area known as the Gun Quarter. During the Industrial Revolution (from the mid-18th century onwards), Birmingham grew rapidly into a major industrial centre and the town prospered. During the 18th century, Birmingham was home to the Lunar Society, an important gathering of local thinkers and industrialists.

Birmingham rose to national political prominence in the campaign for political reform in the early nineteenth century, with Thomas Attwood's Birmingham Political Union bringing the country to the brink of civil war and back during the Days of May that preceded the passing of the Great Reform Act in 1832. The Union's meetings on Newhall Hill in 1831 and 1832 were the largest political assemblies Britain had ever seen. Lord Durham, who drafted the act, wrote that "the country owed Reform to Birmingham, and its salvation from revolution".

By the 1820s, an extensive canal system had been constructed, giving greater access to natural resources to fuel to industries. Railways arrived in Birmingham in 1837 with the arrival of the Grand Junction Railway, and a year later, the London and Birmingham Railway. During the Victorian era, the population of Birmingham grew rapidly to well over half a million and Birmingham became the second largest population centre in England. Birmingham was granted city status in 1889 by Queen Victoria. The city established its own university in 1900.

Birmingham suffered heavy bomb damage during World War II's "Birmingham Blitz", and the city was extensively redeveloped during the 1950s and 1960s. This included the construction of large tower block estates, such as Castle Vale in Erdington. The Bull Ring reconstructed and New Street station was redeveloped. In recent years, Birmingham has been transformed, with the construction of new squares like Centenary Square and Millennium Place. Old streets, buildings and canals have been restored, the pedestrian subways have been removed, and the Bull Ring shopping centre has been completely redeveloped.

In the decades following the Second World War, the ethnic makeup of Birmingham changed significantly, as it received waves of immigration from the Commonwealth of Nations and beyond. The city's population peaked in 1951 at 1,113,000 residents.

Birmingham City Council is the largest local authority in the UK and the largest council in Europe with 120 councillors representing 40 wards. Its headquarters are at the Council House in Victoria Square. No single party is in overall control and the council is run by a Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition.

The city is also the seat of regional government for the West Midlands region of England as the home of the region's Government Office, the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, and the West Midlands Regional Assembly.

Birmingham's eleven parliamentary constituencies are represented in the House of Commons by one Conservative, one Liberal Democrat, one Independent Labour and eight Labour MPs. In the European Parliament the city forms part of the West Midlands European Parliament constituency, which elects seven Members of the European Parliament.

Birmingham was originally part of Warwickshire, but expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, absorbing parts of Worcestershire to the south and Staffordshire to the north and west. The city absorbed Sutton Coldfield in 1974 and became a metropolitan borough in the new West Midlands county. Up until 1986, the West Midlands County Council was based in Birmingham City Centre.

Law enforcement in Birmingham is carried out by West Midlands Police, fire and rescue by West Midlands Fire Service and emergency medical care by West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Birmingham is located in the centre of the West Midlands region of England on the Birmingham Plateau - an area of relatively high ground, ranging around 500 to 1,000 feet (150-300 m) above sea level and crossed by Britain's main north-south watershed between the basins of the Rivers Severn and Trent. To the south and west of the city lie the Lickey Hills, Clent Hills and Walton Hill, which reach 1,033 feet (315 m) and have extensive views over the city.

Much of the area now occupied by the city was originally a northern reach of the ancient Forest of Arden, whose former presence can still be felt in the city's dense oak tree-cover and in the large number of districts such as Moseley, Saltley and Hockley with names ending in "-ley": an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "woodland clearing".

Geologically, Birmingham is dominated by the Birmingham Fault which runs diagonally through the city from the Lickey Hills in the south west, passing through Edgbaston, the Bull Ring and Erdington, to Sutton Coldfield in the north east. To the south and east of the fault the ground is largely softer Keuper Marl, interspersed with beds of Bunter pebbles and crossed by the valleys of the Rivers Tame, Rea and Cole along with their tributaries. Much of this would have been laid down during the Permian and Triassic eras. To the north and west of the fault, varying from 150 to 600 feet (45-180 m) higher than the surrounding area and underlying much of the city centre, lies a long ridge of harder Keuper Sandstone.

The climate in Birmingham is classified as a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with average maximum temperatures in summer (July) being around 20 °C (68 °F); and in winter (January) is around 4.5 °C (40.1 °F). Extreme weather is rare but the city has been known to experience tornados - the most recent being in July 2005 in the south of the city, damaging homes and businesses in the area.

Occasional summer heatwaves, such as the one experienced in July 2006 have become more common in recent years, and winters have become milder since the 1990s with snow becoming much less frequent. Similar to most other large cities, Birmingham has a considerable 'urban heat island' effect. During the coldest night recorded in Birmingham (14 January 1982), for example, the temperature fell to −20.8 °C (−5 °F) at Birmingham International Airport on the city's eastern edge, but just −12.9 °C (9 °F) at Edgbaston, near the city centre. Relative to other large UK conurbations, Birmingham is a snowy city, due to its inland location and comparatively high elevation. Snow showers often pass through the city via the Cheshire gap on North Westerly airstreams, but can also come off the North Sea from North Easterly airstreams.

Birmingham is an ethnically and culturally diverse city. In 2005 the ONS estimated that 67.8% of the population was White (including 2.7% Irish & 2.1% Other White), 20.4% Asian or Asian British, 6.6% Black or Black British, 1.1% Chinese, 3.1% of mixed race and 1.1% of other ethnic heritage. 57% of primary and 52% of secondary pupils are from non-white British families. 16.5% of the population was born outside the United Kingdom.

The population density is 9,451 inhabitants per square mile (3,649/km²) compared to the 976.9 inhabitants per square mile (377.2/km²) for England. Females represented 51.6% of the population whilst men represented 48.4%. More women were 70 or over. 60.4% of the population was aged between 16 and 74, compared to 66.7% in England as a whole.

60.3% of households were found to be owner occupied and 27.7% were rented from either the city council, housing association or other registered social landlord. The remaining 11.8% of households were rented privately or lived rent free.

The Bimingham Larger Urban Zone, a Eurostat measure of the functional city-region approximated to local government districts, has a population of 2,357,100 in 2004. In addition to Birmingham itself, the LUZ includes the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall, along with the districts of Lichfield, Tamworth, North Warwickshire and Bromsgrove.

The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is the main art gallery and museum in Birmingham. It has renowned displays of artwork that include a leading collection of work by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the world's largest collection of works by Edward Burne-Jones. The council also owns other museums in the city such as Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Soho House, and Sarehole Mill, a popular attraction for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien. Thinktank in the Eastside is one of the newest museums in the city, replacing the former Science & Industry Museum in Newhall Street. The Birmingham Back to Backs are the last surviving court of back-to-back houses in the city.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is both an art gallery and concert hall. It also has one of the world's most detailed and largest coin collections. Cadbury World is a museum showing visitors the stages and steps of chocolate production and the history of chocolate and the company.

There are over 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) of parkland open spaces in Birmingham. The largest of the parks is Sutton Park covering 2,400 acres (970 ha) making it the largest urban nature reserve in Europe. Birmingham Botanical Gardens are a Victorian creation, with a conservatory and bandstand, close to the city centre. The Winterbourne Botanic Garden, maintained by the University of Birmingham, is also located close to the city centre. Woodgate Valley Country Park is in Bartley Green and Quinton.

The city centre consists of numerous public squares including Centenary Square, Chamberlain Square and Victoria Square. The historic Old Square is located on Corporation Street. Rotunda Square and St Martin's Square are two of the newest squares in Birmingham, being located within the Bullring Shopping Centre. Brindleyplace also consists of three squares.

Due to Birmingham's diverse population, there is a diverse variety of religious buildings in the city. St Philip's was upgraded from church to cathedral status in 1905. Birmingham also has two other cathedrals, St Chad's, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Province of Birmingham and Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew, the seat of the Greek Orthodox religion in the city. St Martin in the Bull Ring is a Grade II* listed church. There is also a variety of non-Christian religions in the city. In the 1960s, Birmingham Central Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Europe, was constructed for the Muslim community of the city. However, during the late 1990s a mosque in the Sparkhill area close to the city centre was re-developed in partnership with the Birmingham City Council to supersede the Birmingham Central Mosque as the largest Mosque in the city. It holds a larger capacity and a fully functional segregated women's section. As its centrepiece is a dome. The new mosque is generally home to the Kashmiri-Pakistani population which made Birmingham its home during the late 1960s.

See also: Religion in Birmingham.

Although Birmingham grew to prominence as a manufacturing and engineering centre, its economy today is dominated by the service sector, which in 2003 accounted for 78% of the city's economic output and 97% of its economic growth.

Two of Britain's "big four" banks were founded in Birmingham - Lloyds Bank (now Lloyds Banking Group) in 1765 and the Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank plc) in 1836 - and today the city employs 108,000 in banking, finance and insurance. In 2007, Cushman & Wakefield stated that Birmingham was the third best place in the United Kingdom to locate a business, and the 21st best in Europe.

Tourism is also an increasingly important part of the local economy. With major facilities such as the International Convention Centre and National Exhibition Centre the Birmingham area accounts for 42% of the UK conference and exhibition trade. The city's sporting and cultural venues attract large numbers of visitors.

With an annual turnover of £2.2bn, Birmingham city centre is the UK's second largest retail centre, with the country's busiest shopping centre - the Bullring - and the largest department store outside London - House of Fraser on Corporation Street. The City also has one of only four Selfridges department stores, and the second largest branch of Debenhams in the country. In 2004 the city was ranked as the third best place to shop in the United Kingdom, behind the West End of London and Glasgow, being described as a "world-class shopping centre".

Despite the decline of manufacturing in the city several significant industrial plants remain, including Jaguar Cars in Castle Bromwich and Cadbury Trebor Bassett in Bournville.

Although the city has seen economic growth greater than the national average in the 21st century the benefits have been uneven, with commuters from the surrounding area obtaining many of the more skilled jobs. The two parliamentary constituencies with the highest unemployment rates in the UK - Ladywood and Sparkbrook and Small Heath - are both in inner-city Birmingham. Growth has also added to stresses on the city's transport. Many major roads and the central New Street railway station operate over capacity at peak times.

Partly because of its inland central location, Birmingham is a major transport hub on the motorway, rail, and canal networks. The city is served by a number of major motorways and probably the best known motorway junction in the UK: Spaghetti Junction.

Over the coming months, National Express will be moving their UK headquarters to the city, alongside the newly developed Digbeth Coach Station, which forms the national hub of the company's coach network.

Birmingham International Airport, located in the Borough of Solihull to the east of Birmingham, is the UK's sixth largest airport, third largest for charter traffic and has the second highest proportion of business traffic, behind London Heathrow.

Local public transport is by bus, local train and tram. The number 11A and 11C outer circle bus routes are the longest urban bus routes in Europe, being 26 miles (42 km) long with 272 bus stops. Bus routes are mainly operated by National Express West Midlands, which accounts for over 80% of all bus journeys in Birmingham, however, there are around 50 other, smaller registered bus companies. The extensive bus network allows passengers to travel to and from various districts of the city, while there are longer bus routes which take passengers to areas further afield such as Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Halesowen, Stourbridge and the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. The only towns in the West Midlands conurbation that currently lack a direct public transport link with Birmingham areSedgley, Kingswinford, Wednesfield and Willenhall.

Birmingham is also notable for its expansive canal system which fed the industry in the city during the Industrial Revolution. Canalside regeneration schemes such as Brindleyplace have turned the canals into tourist attractions.

The city council is England's largest local education authority, directly or indirectly responsible for 25 nursery schools, 328 primary schools, 77 secondary schools and 29 special schools. It also runs the library service, with 4 million visitors annually, and provides around 3,500 adult education courses throughout the year. The main library is Central Library and there are 41 local libraries in Birmingham, plus a regular mobile library service.

Most of Birmingham's state schools are community schools run directly by Birmingham City Council in its role as local education authority (LEA). However, there are a large number of voluntary aided schools within the state system. King Edward's School is perhaps the most prestigious independent school in the city. The seven schools of The King Edward VI Foundation are known nationally for setting very high academic standards and all the schools consistently achieve top positions in national league tables. Furthermore, Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls is also a well known and high-achieving grammar school.

Sutton Coldfield College merged with North Birmingham College in 2003 and Josiah Mason College in 2006 to form one of the largest further education colleges in the country. Matthew Boulton College is also located in the city and in 2005, the Eastside branch of the college was completed and opened. Joseph Chamberlain College is the only sixth form college in Birmingham and Solihull to have been awarded both Beacon Status and an overall OFSTED grade 1 (Outstanding).

Birmingham is home to three universities and two university colleges: the University of Birmingham, Aston University, Birmingham City University, Newman University College and University College Birmingham. The Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham School of Acting, both now part of Birmingham City University, offer higher education in specific arts subjects. BCU opened the New Technology Institute facility in the Eastside area in 2006. The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower is a campanile located in Chancellor's court at the University of Birmingham in the West Midlands of England. It is the tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.

The city has played an important part in the history of sport. It was the first city to be named National City of Sport by the Sports Council. It is home to two of the country's oldest professional football teams: Aston Villa (1874), founders of the world's first football league in 1888 and Birmingham City (1875). Aston Villa won club football's most coveted prize, the European Cup, in 1982. The Second City derby is an event in which the two clubs play against each other. Aston Villa have won 50 matches as opposed to Birmingham City's 38 match wins. West Bromwich Albion's ground was partially within the city, until a minor boundary change in 1966.

Birmingham is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, whose Edgbaston ground also hosts test matches. The venue was the scene of the highest ever score by a batsman, when Brian Lara scored 501 not out for Warwickshire.. Birmingham was the host for the first ever Cricket World Cup, a Women's Cricket World Cup in 1973. England beat Australia in the finals.

International track and field meetings take place at Alexander Stadium, the home of Birchfield Harriers which has many international athletes amongst its members. The GMAC Gymnastics and Martial Arts Centre, alongside Alexander Stadium, opened in 2008 and houses an international standard gymnastics hall and three martial arts dojos, including the headquarters of the Aikido Fellowship of Great Britain. The National Indoor Arena (NIA), opened in 1991, is a major indoor athletics venue, hosting the 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships and 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships as well as many WWE wrestling events.

The first ever game of lawn tennis was played by Major Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera in Edgbaston between 1859 and 1865 and ATP international tennis is still played at Edgbaston's Priory Club. Birmingham also has a professional Rugby Union side, Moseley RFC, who play at Billesley Common, and there is professional basketball team, Birmingham Panthers, as well as professional boxing, hockey, skateboarding, stock-car racing, greyhound racing and speedway in the city.

Birmingham is the only English city outside London to have three Michelin starred restaurants: Simpson's in Edgbaston, Turners in Harborne and Purnell's in the city centre.

Birmingham based breweries included Ansells, Davenports and Mitchells & Butlers. Aston Manor Brewery is currently the only brewery of any significant size. Many fine Victorian pubs and bars can still be found across the city. The oldest inn in Birmingham is the Old Crown in Deritend (circa 1450). The city has a plethora of nightclubs and bars, notably along Broad Street.

The Wing Yip food empire first began in the city and now has its headquarters in the Chinese Quarter. The Balti was invented in the city, which has received much acclaim for the 'Balti Belt' or 'Balti Triangle'.

Birmingham has had a vibrant and varied musical history over the last century. Birmingham bands have made a major contribution to the musical culture of the United Kingdom, with many contemporary bands citing Birmingham bands as a major influence. In the 1960s, the "Brum Beat" era featured blues and early progressive rock bands, such as The Moody Blues. In the 1980s the reggae band UB40 were formed in Moseley while boy band Musical Youth lived in the Nechells part of Birmingham. Europes biggest music shop was in Birmingham called Woodroffes Musical Instruments. The city is often described as the birthplace of heavy metal music, with Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and two members of Led Zeppelin being local. Then later on during the 80's bands such as Napalm Death, joined the Birmingham heavy metal scene. In the 1970s, members of The Move and The Idle Race formed the Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. The 1970s also saw the rise of reggae and ska in the city with such bands as Steel Pulse, UB40, and The Beat, expounding racial unity with politically leftist lyrics and multiracial lineups, mirroring social currents in Birmingham at that time. Seminal 1980s pop band Duran Duran are also from Birmingham. Fat Man Studios was founded in Birmingham with head engineer Jon Woodroffe, which went onto produce albums for international artists all over the world.

It is the home of the UK's longest-established local science fiction group, launched in 1971 (although there were earlier incarnations in the 1940s and 1960s) and which organises the annual sf event Novacon.

Jazz is popular in the city, and the annual Birmingham International Jazz Festival is the largest of its kind in the UK. Venues for the festival are also located out of Birmingham in Solihull. It was first held in 1984.

The internationally-renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's home venue is Symphony Hall. There is a City Organist; since 1834 only seven men have held this position. The current holder, Thomas Trotter, has been in post since 1983. Weekly recitals have been given since the organ in Birmingham Town Hall was opened but are now held in St. Philip's Cathedral, until the Town Hall organ opens in October 2007, following restoration. The Birmingham Royal Ballet resides in the city as does the world's oldest vocational dance school, Elmhurst School for Dance.

The Birmingham Triennial Music Festivals took place from 1784 to 1912. Music was specially composed, conducted or performed by Mendelssohn, Gounod, Sullivan, Dvořák, Bantock and Edward Elgar, who wrote four of his most famous choral pieces for Birmingham. Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius had its début performance there in 1900. Composers born in the city include Albert William Ketèlbey and Andrew Glover.

Birmingham's other city-centre music venues include The National Indoor Arena, which was opened in 1991, the CBSO Centre, opened in 1997, and the Adrian Boult Hall, which was built along with Paradise Forum and Birmingham Central Library, at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Among the many theatres in Birmingham, the largest are the Alexandra ("the Alex"), The Rep, the Hippodrome and the Old Rep. The Crescent Theatre and Old Joint Stock Theatre are other city centre theatres. Outside of the city centre are the Drum Arts Centre (on the site of the former Aston Hippodrome) and mac. The Fierce! festival collaborates with The Rep to present an annual series of performances from local and national companies.

Literary figures associated with Birmingham include Samuel Johnson who stayed in Birmingham for a short period and was born in nearby Lichfield. The Birmingham Central Library holds some two thousand volumes of his work. Author Arthur Conan Doyle worked in the Aston area of Birmingham whilst poet Louis MacNeice lived in Birmingham for six years. Washington Irving produced several of his most famous literary works whilst staying in Birmingham such as Bracebridge Hall and The Humorists, A Medley which are based on Aston Hall. Other authors who were born in or have resided in Birmingham include David Lodge, Jonathan Coe and J. R. R. Tolkien, who is said to have been inspired by areas and buildings in the city. Influential poets associated with Birmingham include Roi Kwabena, who was the city's sixth poet laureate, and Benjamin Zephaniah, who was born in the city.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has one of the largest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. Edward Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham, spent his first twenty years in the city, later becoming president of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts was declared 'Gallery of the Year' by the 2004 Good Britain Guide. The Ikon Gallery hosts displays of contemporary art. Notable local artists include David Cox, David Bomberg, Pogus Caesar, Keith Piper and Donald Rodney.OOM Gallery a photographic archive has collaborated with organisations such as Fazeley Studios Three White Walls and Kinetic AIU.

Birmingham's role as a manufacturing and printing centre has supported strong local traditions of graphic design and product design. Iconic works by Birmingham designers include the Baskerville font, Ruskin Pottery, the Acme Thunderer whistle, the Art Deco branding of the Odeon Cinemas and the Mini.

Birmingham is home to many national, religious and spiritual festivals including a St. George's Day party. The Birmingham Tattoo is a long-standing military show. The Caribbean-style Birmingham International Carnival takes place in odd numbered years. Birmingham Pride takes place in the gay village and attracts up to 100,000 visitors each year. Since 1997, the city has hosted an annual arts festival ArtsFest, the largest free arts festival in the UK. In December 2006, the City Council announced that it would no longer hold Artsfest. The city's largest single-day event is its St. Patrick's Day parade (Europe's second largest, after the one in Dublin). Other multicultural events include the Bangla Mela and the Vaisakhi Mela. The Birmingham Heritage Festival is a Mardi Gras style event in August. Caribbean and African culture are celebrated with parades and street performances by buskers. Other festivals in the city include Moseley Folk Festival (since 2006), which takes place in Moseley private park and mixes new with established folk acts, the Birmingham International Jazz Festival, and the Birmingham Comedy Festival (since 2001), which has been headlined by such acts as Peter Kay, The Fast Show, Jimmy Carr, Lee Evans and Lenny Henry. The festivals, shows and other activities make Birmingham are part of Birmingham's 2026 vision, publicised by Be Birmingham (a Local Strategic Partnership to Birmingham) which aims to improve the range of public festivals and activities in the city.

Birmingham has two local daily newspapers - the Birmingham Post and the Birmingham Mail - as well as the Sunday Mercury, all owned by the Trinity Mirror who also own What's On magazine, a fortnightly listings title which has been running for 30 years. Forward (formerly Birmingham Voice) is a freesheet produced by Birmingham City Council, which is distributed to homes in the city. Birmingham is also the hub for various national ethnic media and the base for two regional Metro editions (east Midlands and West Midlands). Birmingham has a long cinematic history. The Electric Cinema on Station Street is the oldest working cinema in the UK, and Oscar Deutsch opened his first Odeon cinema in Perry Barr during the 1920s. Birmingham-born architect Harry Weedon collaborated with Oscar Deutsch to design over 300 cinemas across the country, most in the distinctive Art Deco style. Star City is said to be Europe's largest leisure and cinema complex and is not far from the Britain's only permanent drive-in cinema; both are in Nechells. An IMAX cinema is located at Millennium Point in the Eastside. Birmingham has also been the location for films including Felicia's Journey of 1999, which used locations in Birmingham that were used in Take Me High of 1973 to contrast the changes in the city.

As well as being the location for television dramas, Birmingham is also a national hub for television broadcasting. The BBC has two facilities in the city. The Mailbox, in the city centre, is the location for the national headquarters of BBC English Regions, the headquarters of BBC West Midlands and the BBC Birmingham network production centre, which were previously located at the Pebble Mill Studios in Edgbaston. The BBC Drama Village, based in Selly Oak, is a production facility specialising in television drama. It was announced in October 2007 that BBC Birmingham was to lose 43 out of 2,500 jobs nationwide.

Birmingham was also the main hub for many programmes on ITV. Central/ATV studios in Birmingham filmed many programmes including Tiswas and Crossroads until the studio was closed. When Central TV moved to its current Gas Street studios, it was also the main hub for CITV until CITV was moved to Manchester in 2004. All of ITV Central's output from Birmingham now consists of the West and East editions of the regional news programme Central Tonight.

The city is served by numerous national and regional radio stations, as well as local radio stations. These include 96.4 BRMB, Galaxy, Heart FM, Kerrang! 105.2, New Style Radio 98.7FM, Smooth Radio 105.7FM and BBC WM. The Archers, the world's longest running radio soap, is recorded in Birmingham for BBC Radio 4.

Two major developments have regenerated two parts of the city in recent years. Brindleyplace is a major canalside development with restaurants and office buildings along with the National Sea Life Centre. The other development was the Bullring Shopping Centre, which replaced a previous shopping centre. The Mailbox, a canalside development, features designer stores as well as offices and apartments. The Cube, designed by MAKE Architects is a 17 storey mixed-use development which is under construction as part of the Mailbox masterplan. The National Indoor Arena is one of the busiest large scale sporting and entertainment venues in Europe. Outside of the city centre is Star City entertainment complex on the former site of Nechells Power Station.

The nightlife in Birmingham is concentrated mainly along Broad Street and into Brindleyplace. However, in recent years, stylish clubs and bars have started to establish themselves outside the Broad Street area. The Medicine Bar in the Custard Factory, The Sanctuary, Rainbow Pub and Air are large clubs and bars in Digbeth. Near Digbeth, there are bars and club nights in areas such as the Arcadian and Hurst Street Gay Village by the Chinese Quarter. Summer Row, The Mailbox, and St Philips/Colmore Row - where once a month there is a party night held for Polish residents in Birmingham - and Jewellery Quarter also feature clubs. There are number of late night pubs in the Irish Quarter.

Today's Birmingham is chiefly a product of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, as its real growth began with the Industrial Revolution. Consequently, relatively few buildings survive from its earlier history, and those that do are protected. There are 1,946 listed buildings in Birmingham and thirteen scheduled ancient monuments. Birmingham City Council also operate a locally listing scheme for buildings that do not fully meet the criteria for statutorily listed status.

Traces of medieval Birmingham can be seen in the oldest churches, notably the original parish church, St Martin in the Bull Ring. A few other buildings from the medieval and Tudor periods survive, among them the Lad in the Lane and The Old Crown, the 15th century Saracen's Head public house and Old Grammar School in Kings Norton and Blakesley Hall.

A number of Georgian buildings survive, including St Philip's Cathedral, Soho House, Perrott's Folly, the Town Hall and much of St Paul's Square. The Victorian era saw extensive building across the city. Major civic buildings such as the Victoria Law Courts (in characteristic red brick and terracotta), the Council House and the Museum & Art Gallery were constructed. St Chad's Cathedral was the first Roman Catholic cathedral to be built in the UK since the Reformation. Across the city, the need to house the industrial workers gave rise to miles of redbrick streets and terraces, many of back-to-back houses, some of which were later to become inner-city slums.

Postwar redevelopment and anti-Victorianism resulted in the loss of dozens Victorian buildings like Birmingham New Street Station, and the old Central Library. In inner-city areas too, much Victorian housing was redeveloped. Existing communities were relocated to tower block estates like Castle Vale.

Birmingham City Council now has an extensive tower block demolition and renovation programme. There has been a lot of construction in the city centre in recent years, including the award-winning Future Systems' Selfridges building in the Bullring Shopping Centre, the Brindleyplace regeneration project and the Millennium Point science and technology centre. The regeneration of Birmingham has been prompted by the Birmingham Redevelopment Scheme.

Highrise development has slowed since the 1970s and mainly in recent years due to enforcements imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority on the heights of buildings as they could affect aircraft from the International Airport, (e.g. Beetham Tower).

West Midlands Police serves Birmingham and the West Midlands county. The headquarters are located at Lloyd House in the city centre of Birmingham. Birmingham has been the location for many high profile incidents such as the 31 January 2007 Birmingham raid, New Year Murders and more historically, the Birmingham pub bombings.

Crime figures for 2006/ 2007 showed that Birmingham was above the English average in all fields. Of the eight major cities in the country (Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham and Bristol), Birmingham has the lowest crime rate.

In 2006, Birmingham city centre was identified as having the highest concentration of gun crimes in Britain, with three areas of Birmingham being in the top 10 worst gun crime affected areas of Britain. In 2008, gun crime continued to rise in Birmingham with locals and the West Midlands Police in fear of gang related shootings.

In an attempt to reduce crime in the city, a Crime and Disorder Partnership has been established in the city, the largest of its kind in the country. The partnerships work in developing five neighbourhood based community safety projects in Birmingham was recognised when it was awarded first prize at the European Community Safety Awards in December 2004. Crime rates are particularly high in areas such as Aston, Handsworth, Small Heath and Bordesley Green.

Birmingham has traditionally been regarded by many as the Second city of the United Kingdom. It is the second most populous English city and has an important cultural and industrial impact on British life for centuries. A 2007 poll by the BBC placed Manchester ahead of Birmingham in the category of second city of England, but also ahead in the category of third city. Neither categories are officially sanctioned, and criteria for determining what 'second city' means are ill-defined.

Birmingham has a number of notable residents from various walks of life. Joseph Chamberlain, who was once mayor of Birmingham and later became an MP, and his son Neville Chamberlain, who was lord mayor Birmingham and later the British Prime Minister, are two of the most well-known political figures who have lived in Birmingham. Politician Enoch Powell was also born in Birmingham attending a King Edward's school. Author J. R. R. Tolkien was brought up in Birmingham with many locations in the city such as Moseley bog, Sarehole Mill and Perrott's Folly supposedly being the inspiration for various scenes in The Lord of the Rings. Writer W. H. Auden grew up in the Harborne area of the city. Entertainers who were born or who have lived in Birmingham include comedians Sid Field, Tony Hancock and Jasper Carrott and the actors Trevor Eve and Martin Shaw. In more recent times, Cat Deeley became a popular television presenter in the UK and USA. Birmingham has also produced a number of popular bands and musicians. Farse, The Streets, Steel Pulse, UB40, The Beat, Editors, The Twang, Ocean Colour Scene, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Wizzard and Duran Duran have all been popular bands, whilst musicians Jeff Lynne, Ozzy Osbourne, John Lodge, Nick Mason, Roy Wood, Jamelia, and Steve Winwood all were very successful. Other famous residents include award winning political playwright David Edgar; and Booker Prize winning novelist David Lodge.

The 'Walk of Stars', similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was unveiled in July 2007 to honour the famous residents of Birmingham. The first star to be placed on the walk, which is located on Broad Street, was by Ozzy Osbourne. The second star, honouring Jasper Carrott, was placed in the walk in September 2007 during ArtsFest.

See also: Blue Plaques erected by the Birmingham Civic Society.

Birmingham has been the location for some of the most important inventions and scientific breakthroughs. Local inventions and notable firsts include: gas lighting, custard powder, the magnetron, the first ever use of radiography in an operation, Lewis Paul and John Wyatt's first cotton Roller Spinning machine and the UK's first ever hole-in-the-heart operation, at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Among the city's notable scientists and inventors are Matthew Boulton, proprietor of the Soho engineering works, Sir Francis Galton, originator of eugenics and important techniques in statistics, Joseph Priestley, chemist and radical and James Watt, engineer and inventor who is associated with the steam engine. Many of these scientists were members of the Lunar Society, which was based in the city.

Birmingham, Alabama, USA is named after the city and shares an industrial kinship.

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University of Birmingham

Shield of the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham (informally, yet erroneously Birmingham University) is a British 'red brick' university located in the city of Birmingham, England. Founded in Edgbaston in 1900 as a successor to Mason Science College, and with origins dating back to the 1825 Birmingham Medical School, it was the first of the so-called 'red brick' universities to receive a Royal Charter and thus official university status.

It is a member of the Russell Group of research universities and a founding member of Universitas 21. It currently has over 18,000 undergraduate and 11,000 postgraduate students, making it the largest university in the West Midlands region. In 2006-07, it was the fourth most popular English university by number of applications. In the same year the annual income of the university was £389m, with an expenditure of £372m.

The university is ranked 12th in Europe and 75th in the world in the 2008 Times Higher Education Suppliment QS World University Rankings. It is ranked 11th in the UK and 30th in Europe in the 2008 Academic Ranking of World Universities compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It was rated fifth in the UK for research quality in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, with 32 departments holding a 5 or 5* rating. The Guardian University Guide describes it as "Large, prestigious, and rather grand".

The main campus of the university occupies a site some 3 miles (4.8 km) south-west of Birmingham city centre, in Edgbaston. It is arranged around Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower (affectionately known as 'Old Joe'), a grand campanile which commemorates the university's first chancellor, Joseph Chamberlain. The university's Great Hall is located in the domed Aston Webb Building, which is named after one of the architects - the other was Ingress Bell. The initial 25-acre (100,000 m2) site was given to the university in 1900 by Lord Calthorpe. The grand buildings were an outcome of the £50,000 given by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to establish a "first class modern scientific college" on the model of Cornell University in the United States. Funding was also provided by Sir Charles Holcroft.

The original domed buildings, built in Accrington red brick, semicircle to form Chancellor's Court. This sits on a 30 feet (9.1 m) drop, so the architects placed their buildings on two tiers with a 16 feet (4.9 m) drop between them. The clock tower stands in the centre of the Court.

The campanile itself draws its inspiration from the Torre del Mangia, a medieval clock tower that forms part of the Town Hall in Siena, Italy. When it was built, it was described as 'the intellectual beacon of the Midlands' by the Birmingham Post. The clock tower was Birmingham's tallest building from the date of its construction in 1908 until 1969; it is now the third highest in the city. It is one of the top 50 tallest buildings in the UK, and the tallest free-standing clock tower in the world, although there is some confusion about its actual height, with the university listing it as 110 metres (361 ft) tall, and other sources stating that it is 100 metres (328 ft) tall.

The campus has a wide diversity in architectural types and architects. "What makes Birmingham so exceptional among the Red Brick universities is the deployment of so many other major Modernist practices: only Oxford and Cambridge boast greater selections". The Guild of Students original section facing King Edward School was designed by Birmingham inter-war architect Holland Hobbiss who also designed the King Edward school opposite. It was described as "Redbrick Tudorish" by Nikolaus Pevsner.

The statue on horseback fronting the entrance to the university and Barber Institute of Fine Arts is a 1722 statue of George I rescued from Dublin in 1937. This was saved by Bodkin, a director of the National Gallery of Ireland and first director of the Barber Institute. The statue was commissioned by the Dublin Corporation from the Flemish sculptor John van Nost.

Final negotiations for part of what is now the Vale were only completed in March 1947. By then, properties which would have their names used for halls of residences such as Wyddrington and Maple Bank were under discussion and more land was obtained from the Calthorpe estate in 1948 and 1949 providing the setting for the Vale. Construction on the Vale started in 1962 with the creation of a 3-acre (12,000 m2) artificial lake and the building of Ridge, High, Wyddrington and Lake Halls. The first, Ridge Hall, opened for 139 women in January 1964, with its counterpart High Hall (now Chamberlain Hall) admitting its first male residents the following October.

The university underwent a major expansion in the 1960s due to the production of a masterplan by Casson, Conder and Partners. The first of the major building to be constructed to a design by the firm was the Refectory and Staff House which was built in 1961 and 1962. The two buildings are connected by a bridge. The next major buildings to be constructed were the Wyddrington and Lake Halls and the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science, all completed in 1965. The Wyddrington and Lake Halls, on Edgbaston Park Road, were designed by H. T. Cadbury-Brown and contain three floors of student dwellings above a single floor of communal facilities.

The Faculty of Commerce and Social Science was designed by Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis and is a long, curving two-storey block linked to a five-storey whorl. The two-storey block follows the curve of the road, and has load-bearing brick cross walls. It is faced in specially-made concrete blocks. The spiral is faced with faceted pre-cast concrete cladding panels. It was statutorily listed in 1993.

Chamberlain, Powell and Bon were commissioned to design the Physical Education Centre which was built in 1966. The main characteristic of the building is the roof of the changing rooms and small gymnasium which has hyperbolic paraboloid roof light shells and is completely paved in quarry tiles. The roof of the sports hall consists of eight conoidal 2½-inch think sprayed concrete shells springing from 80-foot (24 m) long pre-stressed valley beams. On the south elevation, the roof is supported on raking pre-cast columns and reversed shells form a cantilevered canopy. Also completed in 1966 was the Mining and Minerals Engineering and Physical Metallurgy Departments, which was designed by Philip Dowson of Arup Associates. This complex consisted of four similar three-storey blocks linked at the corners. The frame is of pre-cast reinforced concrete with columns in groups of four and the whole is planned as a tartan grid, allowing services to be carried vertically and horizontally so that at no point in a room are services more than ten feet away. The building received the 1966 RIBA Architecture Award for the West Midlands. It was statutorily listed in 1993. Taking the full five years from 1962 to 1967, Birmingham erected twelve buildings which each cost in excess of a quarter of a million pounds.

In 1967 Lucas House, a new hall of residence designed by The John Madin Design Group, was completed, providing 150 study bedrooms. It was constructed in the garden of a large house. The Medical School was extended in 1967 to a design by Leonard J. Multon and Partners. The two-storey building was part of a complex which covers the southside of Metchley Fort, a Roman fort. In 1968, the Institute for Education in the Department for Education was opened. This was another Casson, Conder and Partners-designed building. The complex consisted of a group of buildings centred around an eight-storey block, containing study offices, laboratories and teaching rooms. The building has a reinforced concrete frame which is exposed internally and the external walls are of silver-grey rustic bricks. The roofs of the lecture halls, penthouse and Child Study wing are covered in copper.

Arup Associates returned in the 1960s to design the Arts and Commerce Building, better known as Muirhead Tower. This was completed in 1969. The 16-storey tower is currently undergoing a £42.3 million refurbishment, designed by Associated Architects. It was estimated to be completed by August 2008, but is still under renovation to this day. The name, Muirhead Tower, came from that of the first philosophy professor of the University. Upon completion, it will become the Schools of Social Sciences and Humanities as well as containing office space for Information Services. The podium will be remodelled around the existing Allardyce Nicol studio theatre providing additional rehearsal spaces and changing and technical facilities.

Located within the Edgbaston site of the university is the Winterbourne Botanic Garden, a 24,000 square metre (258,000 square foot) Edwardian Arts and crafts style garden. There has been much recent development on the western part of the campus. There are new academic buildings, including a learning resource centre and Computer Science department. The massive statue in the foreground was a gift to the University by its sculptor Sir Edward Paolozzi - the sculpture is named 'Faraday', and has an excerpt from the poem 'The Dry Salvages' by T. S. Eliot around its base.

Since November 2007, the university has been holding a farmers' market on the campus. Birmingham is the first university in the country to have an accredited farmers' market.

The University of Birmingham operates the Lapworth Museum of Geology in the Aston Webb Building in Edgbaston. It is named after Charles Lapworth, a geologist who worked at Mason Science College.

The considerable extent of the estate meant that by the end of the 1990s it was valued at £536 million.

The university's Selly Oak campus is a short distance to the south of the main campus. It was the home of a federation of nine higher education colleges, mainly focused on theology and education, which were integrated into the university for teaching in 1999. Among these was Westhill College (later the University of Birmingham, Westhill), which merged with the University's School of Education in 2001. The UK daytime television show Doctors is filmed on this campus. The University also has buildings at several other sites in the city.

The earliest beginnings of the university can be traced back to the Birmingham Medical School which began life through the work of William Sands Cox in his aim of a medical school along strictly Christian lines, unlike the London medical schools. The medical school was founded in 1828 but Cox began teaching in December 1825. Queen Victoria granted her patronage to the Clinical Hospital in Birmingham and allowed it to be styled "The Queen's Hospital". It was the first provincial teaching hospital in England. In 1843, the medical college became known as Queen's College.

On February 23, 1875, Sir Josiah Mason, the Birmingham industrialist and philanthropist, who made his fortune in making key rings, pens, pen nibs and electroplating, founded Mason Science College. It was this institution that would eventually form the nucleus of the University of Birmingham.

In 1882, the Departments of Chemistry, Botany and Physiology were transferred to Mason Science College, soon followed by the Departments of Physics and Comparative Anatomy. The transfer of the Medical School to Mason Science College gave considerable impetus to the growing importance of that college and in 1896 a move to incorporate it as a university college was made. As the result of the Mason University College Act 1897 it became incorporated as Mason University College on January 1, 1898, with the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain MP becoming the President of its Court of Governors.

It was largely due to Chamberlain's tireless enthusiasm that the university was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria on March 24, 1900. The Calthorpe family offered twenty-five acres (10 hectares) of land on the Bournbrook side of their estate in July. The Court of Governors received the Birmingham University Act 1900, which put the Royal Charter into effect, on May 31. Birmingham was therefore arguably the first so-called red brick university, although several other universities claim this title, including the University of Manchester, since Manchester Victoria made significant developments towards the formation of a civic university proper in 1851, despite not gaining official status until 1903.

The transfer of Mason University College to the new University of Birmingham, with Chamberlain as its first Chancellor and Sir Oliver Lodge as the first Principal, was complete. All that remained of Josiah Mason's legacy was his Mermaid in the sinister chief of the university shield and of his college, the double-headed lion in the dexter. It became the first civic and campus university in England. The University Charter of 1900 also included provision for a Faculty of Commerce, as was appropriate for a university itself founded by industrialists and based in a city with enormous business wealth, in effect creating the first Business School in England. Consequently, the faculty, the first of its kind in Britain, was founded by Sir William Ashley in 1901, who from 1902 until 1923 served as first Professor of Commerce and Dean of the Faculty. From 1905 to 1908, Edward Elgar held the position of Peyton Professor of Music at the university. He was succeeded by his friend Granville Bantock.

In 1939, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, designed by Robert Atkinson, was opened. In 1956, the first MSc programme in Geotechnical Engineering commenced under the title of "Foundation Engineering", and has been run annually at the University of Birmingham since. It was the first geotechnical post-graduate school in England. The UK's longest-running MSc programme in Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors also started at the University of Birmingham in 1956, the same year that the world's first commercial nuclear power station was opened at Calder Hall in Cumbria. In 1957, Sir Hugh Casson and Neville Conder were asked by the university to prepare a masterplan on the site of the original 1900 buildings which were incomplete. The university drafted in other architects to amend the masterplan produced by the group. During the 1960s, the university constructed numerous large buildings, expanding the campus. In 1963, the University of Birmingham helped in the establishment of the faculty of medicine at the University of Rhodesia, now the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). UZ is now independent; however, student exchange programs persist. In 1973, University (Birmingham) railway station, on the Cross-City Line, was opened to serve the university. The university is the only university in Britain with its own railway station.

Birmingham also supported the creation of Keele (formerly University College of North Staffordshire) and Warwick Universities under the Vice-Chancellorship of Sir Robert Aitken who acted as 'Godfather to the University of Warwick'. The initial plan was for a university college in Coventry attached to Birmingham but Aitken advised an independent initiative to the University Grants Committee.

The university has been involved in many important inventions and developments in science. The cavity magnetron was developed at the university in the Physics Department by John Randall, Harry Boot and Jim Sayers. This was vital to the Allied victory in World War II. In 1940, the Frisch-Peierls memorandum, a document which demonstrated that the atomic bomb was more than simply theoretically possible, was written in the Physics Department. The university also hosted early work on Gaseous diffusion in the Chemistry department when it was located in the Hills building. Many windows in the Aston Webb building overlooking the former fume cupboards were opaque from being attacked by hydrofluoric acid well into recent years.

In 1943, Mark Oliphant made an early proposal for the construction of a proton-synchrotron, however he made no assurance that the machine would work. When phase stability was discovered in 1945, the proposal was resurrected and construction of a machine at the university that could surpass 1GeV. The university was aiming to construct the first machine to do this, however, funds were short and the machine did not start until 1953. They were beaten by the Brookhaven National Laboratory, who managed to start their Cosmotron in 1952, and get it fully working in 1953, before the University of Birmingham.

The university is home to a number of internationally renowned research centres and schools, including the Birmingham Business School, the oldest business school in England (which is accredited by both AMBA and EQUIS), the University of Birmingham Medical School, which produces more medical doctors than any other university in Britain, the Institute of Local Government Studies, the Centre of West African Studies, the European Research Institute and the Shakespeare Institute.

Between 1964 and 2002, the University of Birmingham was also home to the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, a leading research centre whose members' work came to be known as the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. Despite being established by one of the key figures in the founding of Cultural Studies, Richard Hoggart, and being later directed by the renowned theorist Stuart Hall, the department was controversially closed down.

The university's Library Services department operates 10 libraries across the Edgbaston campus, Selly Oak campus, Birmingham City Centre and Stratford-upon-Avon. The University of Birmingham also contains a number of collections of rare books and manuscripts. The library has a large number of pre-1850 books dating from 1471 with approximately 3 million manuscripts. The library also contains the Chamberlain collection of papers from Neville Chamberlain, Joseph Chamberlain and Austen Chamberlain, the Avon Papers belonging to Antony Eden with material on the Suez Crisis, the Cadbury Papers relating to the Cadbury firm from 1900 to 1960, the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts, the Noel Coward Collection, the papers of Edward Elgar, the records of the English YMCA and the records of the Church Missionary Society.

The University of Birmingham's medical school is one of the largest in Europe with well over 450 medical students being trained in each of the clinical years and over 1,000 teaching, research, technical and administrative staff. The school has centres of excellence in cancer, immunology, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience and endocrinology and renowned nationally and internationally for its research and developments in these fields. The medical school has close links with the NHS and works closely with 15 teaching hospitals and 50 primary care training practices in the West Midlands.

The University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is the main teaching hospital in the West Midlands. It is very successful and has been given three stars for the past four consecutive years. The trust also hosts the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, based at Selly Oak Hospital, which provides medical support to military personnel such as military returned from fighting in the Iraq War.

Birmingham has had six Chancellors since gaining its royal charter in 1900. The current Vice-Chancellor and Principal is Professor Michael Sterling. The first Chancellor of Birmingham was Joseph Chamberlain, he was the first commoner in 240 years to hold the post of Chancellor of a British university, and the first such chancellor ever not to have been a member of the Established Church.

The university ranked 26th out of 113 higher education institutions in The Times 2008 Good University Guide, and came 18th in The Guardian's 2008 rankings. It was ranked fifth nationally for Research Excellence in the 2001, with its language departments particularly excelling.

In October 2007, the University was also ranked equal 65th best in the world by The Times Higher Education Supplement. It is rated equal 92nd best university in the world in the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (IHE-SJTU) Academic Ranking of World Universities 2007.

Since the appointment of Professor Michael Sterling as Vice-Chancellor Birmingham has consistently slipped down most independent (mainly newspaper) national rankings. Indeed in 2006 it was ranked only 33rd out of 109 universities according to the much respected Times Good University Guide, but climbed back up to 26th by 2008. It still remains one of only eleven British universities ranked in the world's top 100.

Owing to Birmingham's role as a centre of light engineering, the University traditionally had a special focus on science, engineering and commerce, as well as coal mining. It now teaches a full range of academic subjects and has five-star rating for teaching and research in several departments; additionally, it is widely regarded as making a prominent contribution to cancer studies.

The University is particularly known for its research, with two thirds of its departments ranked nationally or internationally outstanding in the last Research Assessment Exercise in 2001. Languages, mathematics, biological sciences, physiotherapy, sociology and electrical and electronic engineering all recorded maximum points. The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) is ranked 4th in the UK and 22nd in the world in the Hix rankings of political science departments. The sociology department is also ranked 4th by the Guardian University guide.

The University of Birmingham Guild of Students is the university's student union. Originally the Guild of Undergraduates, it is unclear when the Guild was formally established. It is also not certain why it is called the Guild of Students and not the Union of Students; it is widely thought among Guild officers and staff that the university imposed this name at the Guild's genesis to avoid socialist and working class connotations in favour of more professional ones. Indeed, the Guild shares its name with Liverpool Guild of Students. Both organisations subsequently founded the National Union of Students. The Union Building, the Guild's bricks and mortar presence, was designed by the architect Holland W. Hobbiss.

The Guild's official purposes are to represent its members and provide a means of socialising, though societies and general amenities. The university provides the Guild with the Union Building effectively rent free, and a block grant. In 2005-6, this grant amounted to approximately £1.2 million, roughly equivalent to £50 per student.

The Guild undertakes its representative function through its officer group, seven of whom are full time, on sabbatical from their studies. Elections are held yearly, conventionally February, for the following academic year. These officers have regular contact with the university's officer-holders and managers. In theory, the Guild's officers are directed and kept to account over their year in office by Guild Council, a 500 seat pseudo-legislature. The Guild also supports the university "student reps" scheme, which aims to provide an effective channel of feedback from students on more of a departmental level.

The Guild supports a variety of student societies, roughly around 180 at any one time. The Guild was the UK's first student union with a film studio, one of the first to broadcast its radio station online, and one of the few still to publish its campus newspaper, Redbrick, weekly.

Another two of the Guild's long-standing societies are Student Advice and Nightline (previously Niteline), which both provide peer-to-peer welfare support. The Guild complements these societies with professional staffed services, including its walk-in Advice and Representation Centre (ARC), Job Zone, Student Mentors in halls, and Community Wardens around Bournbrook.

The Guild also runs several bars, eateries, social spaces and social events.

The university provides housing for most first-year students, running a guarantee scheme for all those UK applicants who choose Birmingham as their firm UCAS choice. 90 per cent of university-provided housing is inhabited by first-year students.

The university has spent the last few years re-organising their accommodation offering. The university maintained gender-segregated halls until 1999 when Lake and Wyddrington "halls" (treated as two different halls, despite being physically one building) was reborn as Shackleton. University House was decommissioned as accommodation to house the expanding Business School, while Mason Hall has been demolished and rebuilt, opening in 2008. Shackleton is now the only hall providing catering, although other students are welcome to join its meal plan. In the summer of 2006, the university sold three of its most distant halls (Hunter Court, the Beeches and Queens Hospital Close) to private operators, while later in the year and during term, the university was forced urgently to decommission both Chamberlain Tower and Manor House over fire safety inspection failures. The university has rebranded its halls offerings into three villages.

The Vale Village includes Chamberlain Hall, Shackleton, Maple Bank, Tennis Court, Elgar Court, Aitken and Chelwood residences. A sixth hall of residence, Mason Hall, re-opened in September 2008 following a complete rebuild. Approximately 1,900 students live in the village.

Shackleton Hall underwent an £11 million refurbishment and was re-opened in Autumn 2004. There are 72 flats housing a total of 350 students. The majority of the units consist of six to eight bedrooms, together with a small number of one, two or three bedroom studio/apartments. The redevelopment was designed by Birmingham-based archtitect Patrick Nicholls while employed at Aedas now a director of Glancy Nicholls Architects. Maple Bank was refurbished and opened in summer 2005. It consists of 87 five bedroom flats, housing 435 undergraduates. The Elgar Court residence consists of 40 six bedroom flats, housing a total of 236 students. It is the newest residence to be built, opening in September 2003. Tennis Court consists of 138 three, four and five bedroom flats and houses 697 students. The Aitken wing is a small complex consisting of 24 six and eight bedroom flats. It houses 147 students. Chelwood is situated at the top of the Vale village overlooking the lake, and comprises 50 en-suite bedrooms.

Construction of Mason Hall commenced in June 2006. It has been designed by Aedas Architects who submitted the design in August 2005. Norwest Holst Ltd are the contractors, and Couch Perry Wilkes are the services engineers, DTA are the structural engineers, Faithful & Gould are the quantity surveyors and CDM Project Safety are the planning supervisors. The entire project is expected to cost £36.75 million.

The largest student-run event at the university, and indeed possibly in the UK, is also held on the Vale. The Vale Festival is a large annual music festival, attracting crowds of over 5,000 and boasting over forty bands across five stages and a multitude of other activities and events. It raises over £30,000 a year for charities.

The Pritchatts Park Village houses over 700 students both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Halls include 'Ashcroft', 'The Spinney' and 'Oakley Court', as well as 'Pritchatts House' and the 'Pritchatts Road Houses' The Spinney is a small complex of six houses and twelve smaller flats, housing 104 students in total. Ashcroft consists of four purpose built blocks of flats and houses 198 students. The four-storey Pritchatts House consists of 24 duplex units and houses 159 students. Oakley Court consists of 21 individual purpose-built flats, ranging in size from five to thirteen bedrooms. Also included are 36 duplex units. A total of 213 students are housed in Oakley Court, made up of undergraduates. Oakley Court was completed in 1993 at a cost of £2.9 million. It was designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects. Pritchatts Road is a group of four private houses that were converted into student residences. There is a maximum of 16 bedrooms per house.

Other Self-catering student accommodation include The Beeches, which is small with 48 flats housing 240 undergraduate students on the outskirts of the village. Hunter Court, also located on the outskirts of the village, consists of 64 flats with five and some seven study bedrooms and houses 332 undergraduate students. Queens Hospital Close, located on the outskirts of the village near Broad Street, consists of 52 units of mainly six study bedrooms and some eight and ten bedroom flats. It houses 330 students.

Selly Oak Village consists of three residences; Jarratt Hall, Douper Hall and Victoria Hall. The term ‘Selly Oak Village’ is rather misleading here, for despite its name the halls themselves are actually located in Bournbrook rather than in Selly Oak. The village has 637 bed spaces for students. Douper Hall consists of 28 flats accommodating from two to six persons for 117 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Jarratt Hall is a large complex designed around a central courtyard and three landscaped areas. It houses a mixture of 620 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Until recently, the university had not been served by many private halls; a sole Victoria Halls was built in 2001. However, alongside the former university halls of Hunter Court, the Beeches and Queens Hospital Close, a number of other private halls aimed at the University of Birmingham market opened for business in 2007, such as Opal 1 on Bristol Road and IQFive on Bath Row near Five Ways.

A large number of students cohabit in rented houses, mainly in the Bournbrook area. However an increasingly large number of students are thought to be local, continuing to live in the family home.

The university has many successful sports teams and has been consistently ranked in the top three of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) league table. The university's reputation for sport is a long-standing one; in 1954 it became the first UK university to offer a sports degree, and until 1968 exercise was compulsory for all students. In 2004 six graduates and one current student competed in the Athens olympic games.

The recently re-branded University Sport Birmingham (USB) offers a wide range of competitive and participation sports, which is utilised by the student and local population of Birmingham. Alongside fitness classes such as yoga and aerobics, USB offers over 40 different sport teams, including rowing, football, rugby union, field hockey, American football (Birmingham Lions), ice hockey (Birmingham Eagles), triathlon and many more. The wide selection has ensured the university has remained one of the country's most active and colourful campuses with over 2000 students participating in sport.

USB offers over 40 scholarships and bursaries to national and international students of exceptional athletic ability.

The university sports centre was originally designed to have the swimming pool on stilts. The design had to be revised once it was realised that the structure would be unable to support the weight of water. The model of the university in the Great Hall shows the original design.

David Lodge's novel Changing Places tells the story of exchange of professors between the universities of Rummidge and Euphoric State, Plotinus, thinly disguised fictional versions of Birmingham and UC Berkeley, which in the book both have replicas of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on campus.

The university campus has been used as a filming location for a number of film and television productions, particularly those of the BBC which has a presence at the university's Selly Oak campus, the BBC Drama Village. Scenes from the John Cleese film Clockwise were filmed at the campus' east entrance, while several episodes of the BBC detective series Dalziel and Pascoe, daytime soap Doctors and CBBC series Brum have been filmed in and around campus. Interior and exterior scenes for a BBC adaptation of Birmingham alumnus David Lodge's novel Nice Work and BBC comedy drama A Very Peculiar Practice were also shot in and around the University campus and halls of residence with a number of students appearing as extras. A trailer for the BBC's Red Nose Day 2007, featuring Lou and Andy from Little Britain, was filmed near the School of Biosciences.

Post punk band Joy Division played their final gig at the University High Hall on May 2, 1980 (now known as Chamberlain Hall), 16 days before the suicide of singer/songwriter, Ian Curtis. A recording of the performance accompanies the 'Still' compilation album. It includes one of only two available recordings of the song 'Ceremony' (the other being a demo rehearsal), which would later become a single for New Order.

In 2005 the university began rebranding itself, changing the logo from the simplified shield introduced in the 1980s to a more detailed design based on the shield as it appears on the university's original Royal Charter. Variations on this coat of arms also feature in much of the original architecture on campus, including the ceiling of the Great Hall.

After a research project into the image of the university, it was decided that an updated image was required to redefine the university as being modern and up-to-date. The marketing brand makes use of the letters U and B to bracket key words and achievements associated with the University. A new "word marque", using the Baskerville font in honour of the Birmingham printer John Baskerville, is used as the primary logo when trying to attract both prospective investors and students. It also features on all university vehicles. The coat of arms, revised to more closely resemble that on the original university charter, appears on degree certificates and academic documents. The seating in the Great Hall has also been replaced with chairs embroidered with the new shield. The introduction of new signage throughout the campus (featuring the revised shield rather than the "U and B" logo) was completed at the end of 2006.

Birmingham's alumni include the politicians Neville Chamberlain, Baroness Amos and Chen Liangyu, General Sir Mike Jackson, formerly the most senior officer in the British Army, TV personality Chris Tarrant, Emmy Award-winning director Fielder Cook, actors Tamsin Greig, Norman Painting, Victoria Wood and Jane Wymark, the actor and musician Tim Curry, musician Simon Le Bon, sailor Lisa Clayton, athlete Allison Curbishley, triathlete Chrissie Wellington, zoologist Desmond Morris, theologian Robert Beckford, Chief Medical officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson, UN weapons inspector David Kelly, Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill, and Williams Formula One team co-founder Patrick Head.

Several Nobel Prize Laureates are Birmingham alumni, including Francis Aston, Maurice Wilkins, Sir John Vane, Sir Paul Nurse and Professor Peter Bullock.

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Birmingham City F.C.

Badge of Birmingham City

Birmingham City Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, Birmingham F.C. in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City F.C. in 1943. At the end of the 2007–08 season, they were relegated from the Premier League to the Football League Championship.

Small Heath were founder members and first ever champions of the Football League Second Division. The most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They achieved their highest finishing position of sixth in the First Division in the 1955–56 season and reached the 1956 FA Cup Final, progressed to the final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1960 and 1961, and won their only major trophy, the League Cup, in 1963, beating Aston Villa 3–1 on aggregate. They have spent the majority of their history in the top tier of English football, though their darkest era came between 1986 and 2002, when they were continuously outside the top division. This period included two brief spells in the third tier of the English League, during which time they twice won the Football League Trophy.

St Andrew's has been their home ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, with whom they play the Birmingham derby. The club's nickname is Blues, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses.

Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, and from 1877 played their home games at Muntz Street. The club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F.C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League. In 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly-formed Football League Second Division. They finished as champions, but failed to win promotion via the test match system; the following season promotion to the First Division was secured after a second place finish and test match victory over Darwen. The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new ground, which became known as St Andrew's, the following year, though matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for re-election two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War.

Frank Womack's captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21. Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career. 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England. In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final, which they lost 2–1 to Second Division club West Bromwich Albion. Though Birmingham remained in the top flight for 18 seasons, they struggled in the league, with much reliance placed on England goalkeeper Harry Hibbs to make up for the lack of goals, Bradford excepted, at the other end. They were finally relegated in 1938–39, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War.

The club's current name of Birmingham City F.C. was adopted in 1943. Under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later they won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season. Storer's successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, brought in players who made a major contribution to the club's successes of the next decade. When Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions. In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for City's goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a broken bone in his neck. The following season the club lost in the FA Cup semifinal for the third time since the war, this time beaten 2–0 by Manchester United's "Busby Babes".

Birmingham became the first English club side to take part in European competition when they played their first group game in the inaugural Inter-Cities Fairs Cup competition on 15 May 1956; they went on to reach the semifinal where they drew 4–4 on aggregate with Barcelona, losing the replay 2–1. They were also the first English club side to reach a European final, losing 4–1 on aggregate to Barcelona in 1960 and 4–2 to A.S. Roma in 1961. In the 1961 semifinal they beat Inter Milan home and away; no other English club won a competitive game in the San Siro until Arsenal managed it more than 40 years later. Gil Merrick's side saved their best form for cup competitions. Though opponents in the 1963 League Cup final, local rivals Aston Villa, were pre-match favourites, Birmingham raised their game and won 3–1 on aggregate to lift their only major trophy to date. In 1965, after ten years in the top flight, they returned to the Second Division.

Businessman Clifford Coombs took over as chairman in 1965, luring Stan Cullis out of retirement to manage the club. Cullis's team played attractive football which took them to the semifinals of the League Cup in 1967 and the FA Cup in 1968, but league football needed a different approach. Successor Freddie Goodwin produced a team playing skilful, aggressive football that won promotion as well as reaching an FA Cup semifinal. Two years later, the club raised money by selling Bob Latchford to Everton for a British record fee of £350,000, but without his goals the team struggled. Sir Alf Ramsey briefly managed the club before Jim Smith took over in 1978. With relegation a certainty, the club sold Trevor Francis to Nottingham Forest, making him the first player transferred for a fee of £1 million; Francis had scored a total of 133 goals in 329 appearances over his nine years at Birmingham. Smith took Birmingham straight back to the First Division, but a poor start to the 1981–82 season saw him replaced by Ron Saunders, who had just resigned from league champions Aston Villa. Saunders' team struggled to score goals and in 1984 they were relegated. They bounced back up, but the last home game of the 1984–85 promotion season, against Leeds United, was marred by rioting, culminating in the death of a boy when a wall collapsed on him; this was on the same day as the Bradford fire, and the events at St Andrew's formed part of the remit of Mr Justice Popplewell's inquiry into safety at sports grounds. The club lacked stability both on and off the field. Saunders quit after FA Cup defeat to Altrincham, staff were laid off, the training ground was sold, and by 1989 Birmingham were in the Third Division for the first time in their history.

In April 1989 the Kumar brothers, owners of a clothing chain, bought the club. A rapid turnover of managers, the absence of promised investment, and a threatened mass refusal of players to renew contracts was only relieved by a victorious trip to Wembley in the Associate Members Cup. Terry Cooper delivered promotion, but the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) bank put the Kumars' businesses into receivership; in November 1992 BCCI's liquidator put up for sale their 84% holding in the football club. The club continued in administration for four months, until Sport Newspapers' proprietor David Sullivan bought it for £700,000, installed the then 23-year-old Karren Brady as managing director and allowed Cooper money for signings. On the last day of the season, the team avoided relegation back to the third tier, but after a poor start to the 1993–94 season Cooper was replaced by Barry Fry. The change did not prevent relegation, but Fry's first full season brought promotion back to the second tier and victory in the Football League Trophy at Wembley, beating Carlisle United with a Paul Tait golden goal. After one more year, Fry was sacked to make way for the return of Trevor Francis.

Francis introduced players with top-level experience such as Manchester United skipper Steve Bruce. In his second season the club narrowly missed out on a play-off position, followed by three years of play-off semifinal defeats. They also reached the 2001 League Cup final against Liverpool at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Birmingham equalised in the last minute of normal time, but the match went to a penalty shootout which Liverpool won. By October 2001, lack of progress had made Francis's position untenable. After a 6–0 League Cup defeat to Manchester City, he left by mutual consent, replaced two months later by Steve Bruce. Bruce shook up a stale team, taking them from mid-table into the play-offs where they beat Norwich City on penalties to win promotion.

Motivated by the inspirational Christophe Dugarry, Birmingham's first top-flight season for 16 years finished in mid-table. 2003–04 saw loan signing Mikael Forssell's 17 league goals help Birmingham to a top half finish, though performances and results tailed off badly towards the end of the season. First-team coach Mark Bowen was sacked and replaced by Eric Black, international players were signed, but an injury to Forssell left the 2004–05 team struggling for goals. More transfer window loan signings ensured another mid-table finish. Only two months later, chairman David Gold said it was time to "start talking about being as good as anyone outside the top three or four" with "the best squad of players for 25 years". Injuries, lack of form, and a lack of investment during the transfer window saw them relegated before the last game of a season whose lowlight was a 0–7 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool. Pennant and Heskey left for record fees, many more were released, but Bruce retained the confidence of the board. His amended recruitment strategy, combining young "hungry" players with free-transfer experience and shrewd exploitation of the loan market, brought automatic promotion at the end of a season which had included calls for his head.

In July 2007, Hong Kong-based businessman Carson Yeung bought 29.9% of shares in the club, making him the biggest single shareholder, with a view to taking full control in the future. Uncertain as to his future under possible new owners, Bruce left in mid-season to become manager of Premier League rivals Wigan Athletic. His successor, Scotland national team manager Alex McLeish, was unable to stave off relegation.

The Small Heath Alliance members decided among themselves that their colours would be blue; in the early days, they wore whatever blue shirt they had. Their first uniform kit was a dark blue shirt with a white sash and white shorts. Several variations on a blue theme were tried; the one that stuck was the royal blue shirt with a white "V", adopted during the First World War and retained until the late 1920s. Though the design changed, the royal blue remained. In 1971 they adopted the "penguin" strip – royal blue with a broad white central front panel – which lasted five years. Since then they have generally worn plain, nominally royal blue shirts, though the actual shade used became gradually lighter over the years. Shorts have been either blue or white, and socks either blue, white or a combination. The colours of Birmingham's change strip have varied greatly over the years; white or yellow (on their own or with blue or black) and red with white or black have been the most frequently used combinations.

There have been aberrations. The 1992 kit, sponsored by Triton Showers, was made of a blue material covered with multicoloured splashes which resembled a shower curtain. Birmingham have only ever worn stripes on their home shirt once; in 1999 they wore a blue shirt with a front central panel in narrow blue and white stripes, a design similar to the Tesco supermarket carrier bag of the time.

When the club changed their name from Small Heath to Birmingham in 1905 they adopted the City of Birmingham's coat of arms as their crest, although this was not always worn on the shirts. The 1970s "penguin" shirt carried the letters "BCFC" intertwined at the centre of the chest. The Sports Argus newspaper ran a competition in 1972 to design a new badge for the club. The winning entry, the line-drawn globe and ball, with ribbon carrying the club name and date of foundation, in plain blue and white, was adopted by the club but not worn on playing shirts until 1976. An experiment was made in the early 1990s with colouring in the globe and ball, but the club soon reverted to the plain version.

For the 2008–09 season, Birmingham's home kit is in a traditional, darker shade of royal blue, plain apart from a white collar and arm trim, with blue shorts and white socks. The away kit consists of a white "penguin"-style shirt with red front panel, white shorts and red socks. It is manufactured by Umbro and carries the name of the sponsors, F&C Investments.

Small Heath Alliance played their first home games on waste ground off Arthur Street, Bordesley Green. As interest grew, they moved to a fenced-off field in Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, where admission could be charged. A year later, they moved again, to a field adjoining Muntz Street, Small Heath, near the main Coventry Road, with a capacity of about 10,000. Muntz Street was adequate for 1880s friendly matches, and the capacity was gradually raised to around 30,000, but when several thousand spectators scaled walls and broke down turnstiles to get into a First Division match against Aston Villa, it became clear that it could no longer cope with the demand.

Director Harry Morris identified a site for a new ground in Bordesley Green, some three-quarters of a mile (1 km) from Muntz Street towards the city centre. The site was where a brickworks once operated; the land sloped steeply down to stagnant pools, yet the stadium was constructed in under twelve months from land clearance to opening ceremony on Boxing Day 1906. Heavy snow nearly prevented the opening; volunteers had to clear pitch and terraces before the match, a goalless draw against Middlesbrough, could go ahead. The ground is reputed to have been cursed by gypsies evicted from the site; gypsies are known to have camped nearby, but there is no contemporary evidence for their eviction by the club.

The original capacity of St Andrew's was reported as 75,000, with 4,000 seats in the Main Stand and space for 22,000 under cover. By 1938 the official capacity was 68,000, and February 1939 saw the attendance record set at the fifth round FA Cup tie against Everton, variously recorded as 66,844 or 67,341. On the outbreak of the Second World War, the Chief Constable ordered the ground's closure because of the danger from air-raids; it was the only ground to be thus closed, and was only re-opened after the matter was raised in Parliament. It was badly damaged during the war, the Railway End and the Kop as a result of bombing, the Main Stand burnt down when a fireman mistook petrol for water.

The replacement Main Stand used a propped cantilever roof design, which meant fewer pillars to block spectators' view of the pitch. Floodlights were installed in 1956, and officially switched on for a friendly match against Borussia Dortmund in 1957. By the early 1960s a stand had been built at the Railway End to the same design as the Main Stand, roofs had been put on the Kop and Tilton Road End, and the ground capacity was down to about 55,000.

Resulting from the 1986 Popplewell report into the safety of sports grounds and the later Taylor Report, the capacity of St Andrew's was set at 28,235 for safety reasons, but it was accepted that the stadium had to be brought up to modern all-seated standards. After the last home game of the 1993–94 season, the Kop and Tilton Road terraces were demolished – with fans taking home a significant proportion as souvenirs – to be replaced at the start of the new season by a 7,000-seat Tilton Road Stand, continuing round the corner into the 9,500-seat Kop which opened two months later. The 8,000-seat Railway Stand followed in 1999, but the Main Stand has still to be modernised.

In 2004 a proposal was put forward to build a "sports village" comprising a new 55,000 stadium for the club, to be known as the City of Birmingham Stadium, other sports and leisure facilities, and a super casino. The project would be jointly financed by Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City F.C. (via the proceeds of the sale of St Andrew's) and the casino group Las Vegas Sands. The feasibility of the plan depended on the government issuing a licence for a super casino, and Birmingham being chosen as the venue, but this did not happen. The club have planning permission to redevelop the Main Stand, but club and council have continued to seek alternative sources of funding for the City of Birmingham Stadium project.

Birmingham fans consider their main rivals to be Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours geographically, with whom they contest the Birmingham derby. Lesser rivalries exist with fellow West Midlands clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion. According to a 2003 Football Fans Census survey, Aston Villa fans think of Birmingham City as their main rivals, though this has not always been the case.

The fans are referred to as Bluenoses, a nickname attributed by the Football Fans Census survey to an "accusation they are left out in the cold when it comes to success". Ondré Nowakowski's Sleeping Iron Giant, a piece of public sculpture in the form of a ten-times-life-size head lying on a mound near the St Andrew's ground, has been repeatedly defaced with blue paint on its nose. Between 1994 and 1997 the club mascot took the form of a blue nose, though it is now a dog called Beau Brummie, a play on the name Beau Brummell and Brummie, the slang word for a person from Birmingham.

There are a number of supporters' clubs affiliated to the football club, both in England and abroad. While an action group was formed in 1991 to protest against chairman Samesh Kumar, the club blamed an internet petition for the collapse of the purchase of player Lee Bowyer in 2005, and antipathy towards the board provoked hostile chanting and a pitch invasion after the last match of the 2007–08 season, relations between club and fanbase have never been so poor as to provoke the formation of an independent supporters' group. When the club was in financial difficulties, supporters contributed to schemes which funded the purchase of players Brian Roberts in 1984 and Paul Peschisolido in 1992.

There have been several fanzines published by supporters; in 2008, two were regularly on sale, Made in Brum, first issued in 2000, and the longer-established Zulu. The hooligan firm associated with the club, the Zulus, were unusual in that they had multi-racial membership at a time when many such firms had associations with racist or right-wing groups. The 2005 film Green Street features hooliganism surrounding a fictional match between West Ham United and Birmingham.

Player Alex Govan is credited with popularising the song, by singing it on the coach on the way to the quarter final, and when he revealed in an interview that it was his favourite.

In the build-up to the 1956 FA Cup semi-final with Sunderland I was interviewed by the press and happened to let slip that my favourite song was Harry Lauder's old music hall number "Keep Right on to the End of the Road". I thought no more about it, but when the third goal went in at Hillsborough the Blues fans all started singing it. It was the proudest moment of my life.

Small Heath F.C. became a limited company in 1888; its first share issue was to the value of £650. The board was made up of local businessmen and dignitaries until 1965, when the club was sold to Clifford Coombs. By the mid-1980s the club was in financial trouble. Control passed from the Coombs family to former Walsall F.C. chairman Ken Wheldon, who cut costs, made redundancies, and sold off assets, including the club's training ground. Still unable to make the club pay, Wheldon sold it to the Kumar brothers, owners of a clothing chain. Debt was still increasing when matters came to a head; the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) put the Kumars' businesses into receivership. The club continued in administration for four months until Sport Newspapers' proprietor David Sullivan bought the Kumars' 84% holding for £700,000 from BCCI's liquidator in March 1993.

The football club is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Birmingham City plc, listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The plc was floated in 1997 with an issue of 15 million new shares, raising £7.5 million of new investment. The club made a pre-tax profit of £2.7M in the year ending 31 August 2006 which, according to Deloitte's Annual Review of Football Finance, made them one of only four Premier League clubs to finish the 2005–06 season without debt.

The plc has approximately 81.5M shares in issue. On 27 June 2007, the major shareholders entered into an agreement to sell 29.9% of the company to Hong Kong-based businessman Carson Yeung Ka-shing via the company Grandtop International Holdings Limited ("GIH"), which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The offer price of 61.331 pence per share valued the club at approximately £50M, well above any previous market capitalisation. On 16 July GIH exercised their option to purchase, which made Yeung the largest single shareholder, with plc chairman David Sullivan controlling 23.22% via two of his companies, and football club chairman David Gold holding the same amount jointly with his brother Ralph. In August Yeung stated his intention to take full control of the club once due diligence was complete, but the process became protracted, until on 20 December 2007, the day before a deadline set for completion of the deal, the plc announced that discussions had terminated with the directors "no longer confident that GIH will be able to make a general offer for the Company", though GIH claimed it was they who had "temporarily shelve" the bid due to Birmingham's failure to co-operate.

In April 2008, Sullivan and managing director Karren Brady were arrested and questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting in connection with an ongoing investigation of alleged corruption in English football.

Frank Womack holds the record for Birmingham league appearances, having played 491 matches between 1908 and 1928, closely followed by Gil Merrick with 485 between 1946 and 1959. If all senior competitions are included, Merrick has 551, less closely followed by Womack's 515 which is the record for an outfield player. As of June 2008, the player who has won most international caps while at the club is Maik Taylor with 39 for Northern Ireland.

The goalscoring record is held by Joe Bradford, with 249 league goals, 267 altogether, scored between 1920 and 1935; no other player comes close. Walter Abbott holds the records for the most goals scored in a season, in 1898–99, with 34 league goals in the Second Division and with 42 goals in total. Bradford holds the record for league goals scored in a top flight season with 29 in 1927–28.

The club's widest victory margin in the league was 12–0, a scoreline which they achieved once in the Football Alliance, against Nottingham Forest in 1899, and twice in the Second Division, against Walsall Town Swifts in 1892 and Doncaster Rovers in 1903. Their heaviest league defeats were 9–1, both in the First Division, against Blackburn Rovers in 1895 and Sheffield Wednesday in 1930. Their record FA Cup win was 10–0 against Druids in the fourth qualifying round of the 1899 competition; their record FA Cup defeat was 0–7 against Liverpool in the 2006 quarter final.

Birmingham's home attendance record was set at the fifth-round FA Cup tie against Everton on 11 February 1939. It is variously recorded as 66,844 or 67,341. As the current ground capacity is around 30,000, it is unlikely that this record will be broken in the foreseeable future.

The highest transfer fee received for a Birmingham player is £6.7 million, possibly rising to £8M, from Liverpool for Jermaine Pennant in July 2006, while the most expensive player bought was David Dunn, who joined from Blackburn Rovers in July 2003 for a fee undisclosed by the club, though widely reported as £5.5M. James McFadden was bought from Everton in January 2008 for a fee of £5M, possibly rising to £6.5M depending on appearances; if the full fee becomes payable, this will be the club's record purchase.

Gil Merrick is the only Birmingham manager to have won a major trophy, the League Cup in 1963. Merrick also led the club to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final in 1961, following Pat Beasley who did the same in 1960. Leslie Knighton took the club to the final of the FA Cup in 1931; Arthur Turner did likewise in 1956, as well as taking charge of the club's highest league finish, sixth place in the 1955–56 First Division. Birmingham reached the 2001 Football League Cup Final under Trevor Francis, whose successor as permanent manager, Steve Bruce, twice achieved promotion to the Premier League.

A. ^  The records page on Birmingham City's website suggests that Emile Heskey is the club's record signing, at £6.25 million. This transfer was reported as an initial fee of £3.25M potentially rising to £6.25M. Managing director Karren Brady told the club's 2006 AGM that "there is £1.5million due to Liverpool for Emile which, if we don't stay up, doesn't have to be paid"; as they did not maintain their Premier League status, the total paid for Heskey would therefore have been £4.75M. The fee for Dunn, though officially undisclosed, was reported as £5.5M, a figure later quoted by then manager Steve Bruce.

B. a b  Some sources give the record attendance as 66,844: these include the records page of Birmingham City F.C.'s website and Rothman's Football Yearbook. Others, including the history page of Birmingham City F.C.'s website, Matthews' Encyclopedia, and The Times newspaper from the Monday following the match, say 67,341.

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Source : Wikipedia