Facts about Birmingham

Facts about Birmingham city from a driving instructor.

Many people I teach don’t come from Birmingham so I thought I’d make this page of fun facts about the city. It’s a wonderful place to live, work and take driving lessons because of it’s wide variety of people and cultures.

If you like this page check out others like funny driving lesson stories and read about some of the funny things that happen here. You can also find out more about the areas of Birmingham and see which you like the most.

I wrote this page of facts about Birmingham back in 2005 when I first started my driving school. Maybe some of these things are no longer true but this page is just here for fun.

Facts about Birmingham city

  • Cluedo was invented in Birmingham. There’s a plaque up on the wall of the house on Brighton Road where it’s inventor lived and made the game which is loved by millions around the world.
  • Birmingham is home to 1.1 million people and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK. We’re proud that we have poeple living here from Ireland, Africa, China, Poland, Russia, America….Birmingham is a shining example of how people from different backgrounds can all live happily together.
  • JRR Tolkien wrote Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit in Birmingham. He used to live in the south of the city and the twin towers in the book are based on towers at Edgbaston water works.
  • Reverend Wilbert Awdry wrote the Thomas the tank engine books here. He worked at a church in Kings Norton.
  • Famous musicians from Birmingham include UB40, Duran Duran, Musical youthRoy Wood, Jamelia and Ozzy Osbourne
  • Other famous people from Birmingham include Nigel Mansell, Murray Walker, Jasper Carrot, Cat Deeley, Tony Hitchcock and Toyah Willcox

A song by Toyah Willcox from Kings Heath, Birmingham. Toyah also played Ms Scarlet in a Christmas special episode of a TV adaptation of Cluedo. Listen to this song and you will hear some links to Cluedo!

Where did the name Birmingham come from?

  • The name Birmingham comes from followers of the Inga’s of Birm in the year 700 A.D who formed a hamlet, hence Birm-ing-ham
  • Birmingham has the highest proportion of parks of any European city because all of us living here need somewhere to walk and exercise.
  • Birmingham had the most lap dancing clubs of any UK city although many have now closed down because of dodgy goings on. I know because I taught some of the girls from there!
  • It has more canals than Venice and is the centre of the UK’s canal network. The canals range from taking you high above houses in the suburbs to deep below the buildings in the city centre and offer some wonderful views. The photo below shows the clock tower at Birmingham Uni as seen from walking the canal path.
Photo of a view from a canal in Birmingham

Fast food, chocolate and Eurovision song contest

  • Birmingham has the 5th busiest Mcdonald’s in the world and one of the first to ever open in the UK on Christmas day.
  • Cadbury’s chocolate is made in area of Birmingham called Bournville. The lamposts in Bournville are painted purple because the chocolate bar wrapping paper is that colour.
  • Birmingham is the most landlocked city in the UK. We are about 120 miles from the nearest beach at Weston-super-Mare.
  • Birmingham hosted the 1998 Eurovision song contest which was the first ever to be won by a transsexual.
  • An area called next to Birmingham called Solihull got it’s name because it was a hill where the people of Birmingham dumped soil known as Soily Hill.
  • Birmingham used to be the biggest producer of guns in the UK. There is still an area of he city called the gun quarter.
  • Birmingham city council is the largest council in Europe.
  • We have one of the largest and best hospitals in the UK, the Queen Elizabeth II. We also have a leading and world famous children’s hospital.
  • The Bull ring shopping centre is one of the largest in Europe and houses the famous Birmingham Bull which is the symbol of the city.

Facts about Birmingham driving

  • Birmingham is one of the most congested areas of the UK
  • If you drove every road in the city you’d have covered more than 2,000 miles
  • Birmingham has the highest number of uninsured drivers in the UK
  • Birmingham has the highest number of personal injury claims from road accidents in the UK
  • It’s the crash for cash capital of the UK because it’s so busy
  • Birmingham was the first place in the UK to have a hydrogen fill-up point for cars. At one point it was the only hydrogen fill-up point in the UK.
  • Birmingham’s Spaghetti junction is famous around the world and people travel here from across the globe just so they can drive around it!
  • From 1986 to 1990 Birmingham held the Halfords superprix, a car race held on the city streets. It helped launch the careers of several Formula one drivers such as Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Parts of the old circuit can still be driven today and you can tell it was a racing track because of it’s layout. If you go there late at night you’ll see huge meetings of car enthusiasts who show off their modified cars in spectacular (and sometimes illegal) shows.

For more facts about parts of the city like Kings Heath and Kings Norton visit my areas of Birmingham page.