Thursday, April 28, 2022

History of Birmingham – From market town to post-industrial metropolis

Birmingham was a place of some consideration at the time of the conquest; and gave name to the ancient family of Birmingham, who then and long after possessed the lordship and obtained a market for Henry I (1068-1135), and two fairs from Henry III.

Birmingham is the second-largest city in England. It began as a Saxon village. The earliest authentic notice of Birmingham occurs in Domesday Book of 1086, where it was described as a small village in which it is called Bermengeham.

During the last four centuries it has been variously written Brumwycheham, Bromwycham, Brummagen and Burmyngham. In the early 12th century it was popular market town. Birmingham’s first market charter was granted in 1166.

In 1250 the people of Birmingham were given the right to hold a fair each Summer. In the Middle Ages, a fair was like a market but it was held only once a year.

Birmingham established itself in the field of industry, starting off with the wool trade in the thirteenth century, and becoming an important center for the metal and iron industries from the sixteenth century onwards.

By then it was also known for leatherworking. Leather was tanned then used to make gloves, saddles, bottles, shoes, and many other things. The development of Birmingham’s extensive canal network marked Birmingham as a key player in the global export market.

In the mid-seventeenth century, Birmingham was largest market town in Warwickshire that was the world’s first true industrial town, its population tripling by the end of the century.

In the reign of Charles I (1600-1649), Birmingham distinguished itself in the parliamentary cause and was the scene of some conflict’s, in the last of which in 1643, it suffered considerably, having been taken, partially burnt and a heavy fine inflicted on the inhabitants by Prince Rupert.

In the eighteenth century, Birmingham was the center of Britain’s Industrial revolution. Metalworking of all kinds flourished in the town. There were also many gunsmiths and some locksmiths. In the late 18th-century glass making boomed in Birmingham.

In the 19th century, George and Richard Cadbury opened their iconic chocolate factory in Bournville, securing Birmingham’s position as a beloved household name across the world.
History of Birmingham – From market town to post-industrial metropolis

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