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West Midlands Facts

Interesting and historical facts about West Midlands.

  • The historic Bull Ring Centre in Birmingham has been the site of a market for more than 800 years.

  • James Watt, who lived in Birmingham 1775-1819 developed the steam engine. He also invented the letter copying machine, which was the forerunner of the photocopier. The light bulb rating 'Watt', a standard throughout the world, is named after him.

  • Birmingham's Central Library is the city's busiest building and Europe's largest public library, lending out 8 million books each year.

  • Apart from the other 30 Birminghams around the world, there is also a crater on the moon called Birmingham!

  • The Birmingham Minister, Joseph Priestley, discovered oxygen.

  • The pneumatic tyre was invented in Birmingham by John Dunlop in 1888.

  • Place names in Birmingham include California, Hollywood and Broadway.

  • Birmingham has over 6 million trees, and more parks than any other European city.

  • J R R Tolkien, author of 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings', spent his childhood in the village of Sarehole, Birmingham. The tiny village is said to have been the model for the Shire, home of Bilbo Baggins in the book The Hobbit.

  • Victoria Square in Birmingham hosts one of the largest fountains in Europe, with a flow of 3,000 gallons per minute. It is known as "The River" but has also been nicknamed "The Floozie in the Jacuzzi".

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