10 Bizarre Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About Birmingham

Jack Saddler Jack Saddler

10 Bizarre Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About Birmingham

As the UK’s second city, Birmingham is well-stacked with history and culture.

From canals to custard, heavy metal to ghosts, there are plenty of bizarre facts about Brum that you really ought to know.

1. Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice

Yep, more than the place that gets all the credit. Where is the justice in this world? While it is often claimed that Birmingham has more canals than the Italian Giant, this is not true. But, we do trump them when it comes to miles. Birmingham 35 miles – Venice, 26 miles. Get in.

2. Birmingham is the home of Bird’s Custard


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Bird’s Custard was the first of its kind. Egg-free formula that didn’t exist before it was created in Digbeth. Alfred Bird graced us with this powdered formula as his wife was allergic to eggs. Little did he know this small act of kindness in 1837 would put him in the Brummie history books, eh?

See also: 7 Awesome Reasons To Visit The Custard Factory

3. Birmingham has the UK’s largest number of uninsured drivers

Yep, it seems like Brummies are playing a risky game with this one. A 2017 study found Birmingham to have over 55,000 uninsured vehicles. Careful on the spaghetti junction, road ragers!

4. Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe


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Millennials seem to be getting a bad rep. So, if you’re tired of being bossed around by boomers, join us! Over 40% of the city is under 25, so there’s a flourishing youthful population to become a part of. Birmingham also has five universities and over 70,000 students.

5. Birmingham is home to the UK’s oldest working cinema


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Still going since 1909! The Electric Cinema on Station Street has stood strong through Hollywood’s Golden Age and beyond. It even boasts a luxury service these days. So, whether you go to watch a classic or a newly-released hit, you’ll be taking in pieces of cinematic history.


6. Some claim to have seen the ghost of Charles Dickens at Birmingham Town Hall


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Dickens gave a first reading of the spooky classic A Christmas Carol (1843) at Birmingham Town Hall, on Boxing Day in 1953. It is claimed that the ghost of Dickens himself can be spotted walking the corridors and sitting in the gallery. Some say he vanishes right before their eyes.

7. The first ever medical X-ray was taken in Birmingham

John Hall-Edwards performed the first clinical conditions X-ray in January 1896. He radiographed a needle in the hand of an associate.

8. Bullring has seen shoppers flock there since the Middle Ages


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Now one of Europe’s largest shopping centres, the Bullring also has its share of history. It stands on the ground where markets were first held in the 12th century.

9. Heavy metal just celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Birmingham was its birthplace


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Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler. Four pioneers who changed the landscape of rock music forever when Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut in February 1970. All hailing from Aston and Handsworth, it gave Birmingham the title “Home Of Heavy Metal”. Half-a-century and counting.

10. Birmingham is a huge inspiration for Lord of the Rings


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Both Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit owe some inspiration to Birmingham. J.R.R Tolkien lived here from the age of four, with the “Shires” being partly based on fields and the mill at Sarehole.

Read more: Literally Just 9 Of The Pinkest Places In Birmingham

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