Birmingham Manufacturing - RH Nuttall Ltd

Birmingham isn’t known as the “city of a thousand trades” for nothing. From inventions ranging from vacuum cleaners to the world’s first professional football league, Birmingham really has seen it all and is home to more famous inventions than you may think.

The Brummies really do seem to excel when it comes to creating new innovative ideas and more importantly following such ideas through and those at the Patent Office seem to agree.

Birmingham is the urban city when it comes to industry, with a vast history of industrial innovation – particularly during the 19th century with the steam power and engineering businesses aided mills and foundries. Birmingham is well known for the huge part it has played in shaping industrial Britain. A large part of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, Birmingham became one of the fastest growing cities and still flourishes today. Back then our second city was also the leading manufacturer of metal ware within the UK. Metal working industries were highly important in Britain, making arms was a large part of the metalworking industry with many small business producing guns for parliament. As well as arms, the metal works also produced watches, toys and steel jewellery. An asset to Birmingham’s economy in the 19th Century was Birmingham’s Pen Trade – during this time Birmingham was at the centre of the production of steel pen nibs and pen quills. Birmingham was the home of industrial pioneers such including Matthew Boulton and his side kick James Watt who developed stationery steam engines – Curzon St Station located in Digbeth was the terminus of London and Birmingham railways.

steam engine

steam engine in action


The West Midlands, particularly Birmingham and Coventry are also famous for being the home place of bicycles, Since the 20th century Birmingham has boasted the largest number of bicycle makers in the country.

Of course we can’t forget Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. Located in Hockley, the Jewellery Quarter is the centre of Britain’s jewellery output – controlling around 40%. Hockley is home to 700 jewellery related businesses there are even plans to develop the Quarter over the next few years. The Birmingham Mint is also located in the Hockley – this is the oldest independent Mint in the world.

More recently, Birmingham has excelled with regards to medical science, particularly surrounding cancer research and eye disease. Birmingham is no stranger to medical discoveries however, the second city was also home to the first x-ray ever to be taken pioneered and developed by John Hall Edwards in the early 20th Century. The University of Birmingham is currently the place of significant research with regards to Nanotechnology.

Of course how could we miss out one of Birmingham’s biggest successes – the Bournville Village Trust. Cadbury chocolate is Britain’s favourite and the factories are still in use today producing chocolate that is famous all over the world. Bournville still remains one of the most desirable places to live in Birmingham.

Apart from being a jack of all trades Birmingham also excels in the entertainment sector – the first ever Odeon cinema was opened in Perry Barr in 1928. As well as the Odeon – Birmingham is also home to one of two Electric Cinema’s – the oldest working cinema in the country. There are also some great theatres, The Rep, The Hippodrome and The New Alexandra Theatre.

Even in a time of economic difficulty, Birmingham still continues to be a metropolitan hub for manufacturing. The University of Birmingham has an Advanced Manufacturing Centre which will bring together key research groups and individuals. Providing more opportunities for those wanting to pursue careers in manufacturing.

Birmingham is still a thriving city and was also one of the four finalists for the “city of culture 20123” in 2010. 2013 also saw Europes largest library open in Birmingham – showing that the city still has plenty of promise and room to flourish. The library is currently the busiest building in Birmingham right now as is a much loved asset to the city. Birmingham is still a thriving city and was also one of the four finalists for the “city of culture” in 2013