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BIRMINGHAM

 

CITY

 

 Introduction:-

 

Birmingham is the second largest city of the United Kingdom and its location is virtually in the centre of England. It is the administrative centre of the West Midlands metropolitan area and is central to rail, road and canal networks.  The current population is approximately one million.

 

Brief History:

 

Starting out as a Saxon village in 1166 the King allowed the Lord of the Manor, Peter de Birmingham, the right to hold a weekly market. This encouraged tradesmen and merchants to locate there and thus a small town was established. A fair was then held each summer which encouraged more trade. The woolen industry was started. In the 1400’s metal working and leather trades began and the population reached 1,500 by the year 1500.

 

The middle ages saw further rapid population growth and with metal working expanding, due to nearby iron ore, coal and streams to enable watermills to produce power. Knives, nails and blacksmith products were made. A grammar school was built in the 16th century.

 

The 17th century brought the civil war and the King arrived and plundered and looted the local population. In 1695 the mention of a fire engine was made.

 

The population in the 18th century rose from about 10,000 in 1700 to 73,000 in 1800. As well as new products being produced such as guns, locks, shoes , buckles and glass making, the Blue Coat school was founded, streets were cleaned and lit by oil lamps. Also the General Hospital and dispensary were constructed together with a canal to Wednesbury. St. Phillip’s Church, later to become the cathedral was built in 1715.

 

The 19th century saw an explosion in population and general activity. Gas lighting, piped water, sewers were introduced. In 1837/38 railways were laid to connect Birmingham to Manchester and London. Further industry such as railway carriages, jewellery, bicycles and chocolate were in production.

 

A Town Hall, two more hospitals, botanical gardens, public baths, library, electricity and trams turned this large town into a city in 1889.

 

The 20th century saw the coming of the University and Repertory Theatre. Tyre making and electrical goods were added to its industrial base. By 1928 the population reached one million.

 

Extensive bombing in the second world war saw many dead and vast areas of bomb damage.

 

Extensive re-building commenced after the cessation of war which saw the introduction of much new housing, an inner ring road, Aston University and the Bullring. Other shopping centres including the Pallisades, Pavilions and eventually Mail Box were created.

 

However, manufacturing declined and was replaced with service industries.

 

The International Conference Centre was opened and a modern tram system was started in the last few years of the century.

 

Post millennium saw the city turn into an education, tourist and financial centre.

 

Things to Do:

 

A good range of attractions to visit are scattered throughout the city. The following may wish to be considered when visiting Birmingham.

 

Cadbury World:

Located in the south west of the city you can find out the history of chocolate and see how it is made.

 

National Sea Life Centre:

Walk through a tunnel surrounded by a million litre tank and watch exotic sea creatures from around the world.

 

Thinktank-Birmingham Science Museum:

Contains ten themed galleries with a fantastic planetarium. Full sized locomotives and aircraft are also amongst the inter-active displays.

 

Back to Back Housing:

Gives an insight into 19th century working class home life. It traces people’s lives from 1840 to 1977. Run by the National Trust it is located in Hurst/Inge Street close to China Town.

 

BBC Birmingham Public Space and Tours:

An interesting look at locally made radio and TV programmes. To be found in The Mailbox.

 

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and Pen Museum:

wander amongst art galleries, 100 jewellery shops and 200 listed  Take the tram from New Street or Snow Hill stations.

 

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery:

located in the city centre has a wealth of artifacts to view. Also contains an atmospheric café.

 

Canals:

Amazingly, the city has more canals than Venice, many of which have been renovated and very pleasant to wander amongst the independent shops and visit the many restaurants.

 

Sport:

As well as League football, county cricket is played at Edgbaston. Tennis and other major sports are put on at the National Indoor Arena.

 

Further afield Warwick Castle, Stratford on Avon, Leamington Spa and Lichfield Cathedral are accessible.

 

Night Life:

Broad Street is the place to head for bars, pubs and clubs for a good night out. The Mailbox also houses good restaurants and late night entertainment. An established gay village scene is on hand within the B5 postal district.

 

For theatre that shows West End musicals visit the Hippodrome, with further stage entertainment at the New Alexandra Theatre and the Repertory Theatre.

 

There are half a dozen comedy clubs in the city.

 

Also ready available are cinemas, casinos, bowling alleys etc..

.

Eating Out:

The city centre contains a huge variety of eating establishments. These can be found as independent restaurants and cafes to national chains, mainly to be found in the Malls. There is also good eating out to be found in the hotels and department stores. Prices range from budget to gourmet.

The large ethnic population ensures a wealth of exotic eating out places. There is a very good  China Town and Balti Quarter.

 

Shopping:

The shopping experience in Birmingham has improved tremendously in the past decade or two. The old, tired Bullring has been completely refurbished and introduced new department stores such as Selfridges and other additional chain stores.

The Bullring is an extension to New Street, where the main central railway station is located. A new John Lewis department store has opened in Grand Central, above New Street Station.. Off of New Street is Corporation Street which contains another large national department store.

The Mailbox is another new shopping centre formed from the old Royal Mail sorting office. This houses a Harvey Nicholls store and also BBC Birmingham.

 

Accommodation:

As a major city it is taken that a large variety of national and international hotels, of all price ranges, are located. These can be found throughout the city centre and further out to suburbs and airport.

Guest houses and local small hotels are generally found in the suburbs and lining main roads entering the metropolis.

 

Transport:-

 

Rail:

Due to its importance and size the city became a rail centre from the advent of the industry. New Street, the very heart of the city is a through station and terminus which sees trains operate to and from the whole of Great Britain. Fast trains connect the city to London Euston, Manchester Piccadilly and Glasgow plus every major city and town. Midland suburban trains run from Moor Street and Snow Hill stations. Snow Hill is a stop on the new tram system which runs out to West Bromwich and Wolverhampton and starts at New Street Station. Check web site at National Rail.

 

Road:

Birmingham is at the very heart of the English and Welsh road system, signified by Spaghetti Junction in the north west of the city.

The M1/M6 is the London and south east route, together with M42 to Oxford and south coast. The M1 north takes in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and North East England. The M6 is for Manchester, Liverpool and North West England.

For the South West the M5 should be taken, combined with M4 for South Wales.

 

Buses:

From Digbeth bus station National Express run a network of coaches throughout the UK. Service buses throughout the city and suburbs are run by Network West Midlands. Check their web site for timetables.

 

Taxis:

At least a dozen taxi firms operate throughout the city.

 

Air:- Birmingham International Airport, to the south east of the city, is connected to 110 cities throughout United Kingdom,  Europe and the world.

 

 

CLUBS

 

ASTON  VILLA

 

Stadium:-  Villa Park, Birmingham, B6 6HE

 

Founded - 1874  

                                             

Joined League - 1888

 

Chairman - Dr Tony Xia

                     

Manager -  Dean Smith

 

Current League: Championship

 

Phone Number - 0121 327 2299

 

Email address -Enquiry form on official site

 

Brief History:

 

In the early 1880s, William McGregor, a Villa director, invited directors of other football clubs to a meeting to discuss the formation of a football league. This meeting was the catalyst to the forming of the English Football League and eleven other football clubs, all from the North or Midlands, joined Aston Villa for the first season, 1888-1889.

 

Villa became League Champions for the first time in 1893/94 and then became the first club, after Preston North End, to win the double, ( the League Championship and FA Cup), in season 1896/97. The club went on to be League Championship twice more before 1900, in seasons 1898/99 and 1899/00.

 

The club also won the FA Cup in 1895 and the Cup was stolen shortly after. The Cup was melted down to make counterfeit coins and the club was fined £25.

 

The club’s early success was managed by George Ramsay, who was in charge for 42 years from 1884 to 1926, making him the second longest holder of manager in the League.

 

Also during his stewardship the club had its biggest win 12-2 v Accrington in League in 1892 and biggest defeat 1-8 v Blackburn Rovers in 1889 in FA Cup tie. George had one more League Championship, in season 1909/10. There was also another FA Cup success for him in 1913 when they beat Sunderland in front of a then world record attendance of 120,081.

 

Although another League title would not be won until 1980/81 the club were still one of the   season when 128 hit the back of the net.

 

They did, however, suffer relegation to the second level and even to third level on one occasion. They bounced back winning the Division 3 Championship in 1972 and the Division  2 Championship in 1938 and 1960.

 

Success came again to this fine old club when they won the League in 1980/81 and then won the European Cup at first attempt in 1982 when they beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in Rotterdam.

 

Aston Villa was a founder member of the Premier League and they remained there until a disastrous season in 2015/16, which saw them relegated to the Championship.

 

The club’s nearest rivals are their city cousins Birmingham City and matches between them are known as the “Second City Derby”. Villa’s most played fixture is v Everton.

 

Honours:

 

League Championship:

1893/94.   1895/96.   1896/97.   1898/99.   1899/00.   1909/10.   1980/81

 

FA Cup Winners:-            

1887. 1895. 1897. 1905. 1913. 1920. 1957.

 

League Cup Winners:-    

1961. 1975. 1977. 1994. 1996.

 

Charity Shield:-                

1981.

 

European Cup:-                

1982.

                       

Match Day:

 

Tickets:

Tickets for away fans visiting Villa Park  must be bought from their own clubs. No tickets can be bought from Aston Villa ticket office.

Aston Villa sell away tickets to season ticket holders first, and have concessions for Juniors, Seniors and Armed Forces etc..After a specific period the tickets go on general sale.

As the ticket availability can change depending on the match it may be best to contact the ticket office for information on 0800 612 0970 or visit the website at www.eticketing.co.uk/avfc .

 

Transport:

As expected with such a well established club Aston Villa have a good transport policy in place. The following should be considered when making the choice of transport to the venue:-

 

Road:

These days car should be the last mode of transport to use to get to football stadiums but in reality it is the choice of very many due to its flexibility. Parking near grounds is normally the headache. The first thing to remember about visiting Villa Park by car is that there is a residents parking scheme in place which means travellers from afar will find it almost impossible to find on street parking. There is also a Traffic Exclusion Scheme that takes immediate effect on match days and which excludes cars owned by fans from entering. Both schemes can be found on AVFC web site.

However, fifteen car parks are open for car users. Initially to aim for the stadium location enter B6 6HE into your sat nav. The fifteen car parks are located at sites surrounding the stadium and full details of locations can be found on the official web site. Contact the club if you wish to organise parking for a mini bus that you may intend to use for your journey, by phoning 0121 322 6077.

Motor cycles can be parked at Aston Arena, about 0.6km from the ground. Cycles can be parked at the stadium. Of course, taxis can be arranged for to and from the stadium and there are facilities to help at the security lodge behind the north stand.

 

Buses:

There is a range of bus routes that pass by or near Villa Park. Two routes, numbers 7 and 424 run from Birmingham City Centre and others can be picked up at Perry Bar, Handsworth, Selly Oak, Erdington, Yardley, Kings Heath, Cradley Heath etc.. Route numbers and timetables can be found at  www.networkwestmidlands.com or by phoning 0870 200 2233.

 

Rail:-

An increasing interest in travelling to matches by train is not missed when travelling to Villa Park. Birmingham New Street, the main station in the city and to which all trains from major cities use have two routes which serve Villa Park.  The first to Witton takes about 9 minutes plus a walk of 5 minutes. The second is to Aston station which takes 10-15 minutes on the train plus a 15 minute walk. These routes can also be used if travelling from Walsall, Redditch and Lichfield.

 

Air:

If flying to the city is a preferred method then Birmingham International Airport is on hand. To get to the stadium take a train to New Street and then as Rail routes described above, or take a taxi.

 

Stadium:

 

Aston Villa started their League journey playing at Perry Barr in Birmingham. In 1897 the club moved to Villa Park which lies to the north of the city centre, just west of the A38(M) and just south of the M6 motorway junction with A38(M). In 1911 the club purchased their ground.

 

The famous old stadium has hosted more FA Cup semi-finals than any other venue. It has also welcomed European Championship, European Cup Winners matches and three World Cup ties when England were hosts in 1966. It is also one of the few English grounds to have staged international matches over three centuries.

 

Music gigs such as Bruce Springsteen, Barry White and Duran Duran have been put on at Villa Park.

 

The stadium has been gradually developed to contain four stands, namely, Doug Ellis, Holte, Trinity Road and North. Away fans are located at one end of the Doug Ellis Stand.

 

Usual food fare is available on the away concourse, together with TV screens and a betting kiosk.

 

Stadium tours are available each day starting at £7.95 for children and £12.95 for adults. Full details are available from club on 0800 612 0950.

 

Villa Village within the environs of the stadium contains a super store where all Villa associated merchandise can be purchased.

 

 

BIRMINGHAM CITY

 

Stadium:- St.Andrew’s Stadium, Birmingham, B9 4RL

 

Founded - 1875    

                                       

Joined League - 1892

 

Chairman - Paul Suen

                             

Manager -  Garry Monk

 

Current League - Championship

 

Phone Number - 0844 557 1875

 

Email Address - reception@bcfc.com

 

Brief History:

 

Birmingham City came into existence in 1875 under the name of Small Heath and this name was still in use when they entered the League in 1892. Due to the League becoming a more national competition the club changed their name to Birmingham in 1905 and this remained until 1943 when they became Birmingham City.

 

The club’s home ground was Muntz Street, Small Heath, until they moved to their current St. Andrew’s stadium in 1906.

 

They were the first club to become a Limited Company, which occurred in 1888.

 

City became the first English club to play in Europe when they entered the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1955, when they scored a creditable 0-0 draw with Inter Milan. They reached the final of this competition in 1960 and 1961 but lost on both occasions. They did however become the first English team to beat Inter Milan at the San Siro Stadium, in 1961, during the rounds.

 

City player, Trevor Francis, became the League’s first £1 million player when he transferred to Nottingham Forest in 1979.

 

Surprisingly, for a club that takes the name of England’s second city, Birmingham City has never won the League Championship or the FA Cup. They currently play in the Championship.

 

Honours:  

 

League Cup:- 

1963. 2011.

 

Match Day:

 

Tickets:

 

Away visitors should apply to their own club for tickets at St. Andrews. Alternatively Ticketmaster also handle Birmingham City match tickets. For further information email  ticket.office@bcfc.com.

 

Transport:

Located in the centre of England getting to the city is no problem with good road and rail links and therefore reasonable access to St. Andrews is available.

 

Train:

Unfortunately there is no railway station adjacent to the stadium. There is a station at nearby Bordesley which is used for fans visiting Birmingham City. It is a 10 minute walk from station to ground. Before attempting this route check with National Rail regarding timetable and fares. The station lies on the Moor Street to Leamington Spa line.

Advisedly if travelling by train you need to aim for New Street and Moor Street stations and then take an onward journey by bus or taxi. The distance from stations to ground is 1.3 miles from New Street and 1.9 miles from Moor Street.

 

Buses:

Again, Moor Street is the hub to pick up a bus to the stadium. Buses 17, 58, 59, 60, 97 and 97a ply this route. The bus takes 15-20 minutes.

The energetic can walk the same route in 30 minutes.

 

Road:

Birmingham is surrounded by motorways, M5, M6, M40 and M42.

If travelling from the West of England or South Wales take the M5 to junction of M42 and head east along same. Travel until you see A45 junction and head up Coventry Road to the stadium.

From the North West take the M6 turn down the A38(M) and then the A45 south east to the stadium.

From the North take the M1 until the M42 and then south west until the M42 and then south to the A45 and travel north west up Coventry Road to stadium.

From London and South of England use the M40 until you reach the M42, then travel north east until the A45 and turn left onto Coventry Road which will take you to the stadium.

There is some on street parking and a small car park at the ground which has a small charge. There is also a pay car park at Birmingham Wheels on Adderley Road South, BN8 1AD.

 

Stadium:

 

St. Andrews opened in 1906 and been rebuilt over the years.

 

There are four stands. A large two tier stand incorporates the Spion Kop and Tilton Road Stands and covers half the ground. Spion Kop incorporates the executive and director’s boxes.

 

The Gil Merrick Stand is another large two tier stand which houses away fans and the fourth stand is the smallest, the Garrison Lane stand.

 

Food, ranging from pies to burgers, and drink, including alcohol, are available in the stand concourse.

The atmosphere created is excellent.

 

There is a superstore on Cattell Road  close to the Kop stand.

 

Stadium tours can be booked through the ticket office and currently cost £12 for adults and £6 concessions.

 

There is a cash point at Morrisons on the Kop side of the ground.

Birmingham

BREAKFAST       LUNCH        DINNER

 

BILL'S RESTAURANT

 

Bullring, Birmingham

 

 01216 437125