Birmingham and its residents (affectionately known as "Brummies") have inherited a blue collar reputation from this "Second City's" (behind London, of course) manufacturing legacy. During the Industrial Revolution the city was a powerhouse. Railway cars, ships, steam engines, airplanes, jewelry, guns, and food, are examples of Birmingham's major manufacturing operations. Although its economy now predominantly relies upon the service sector (78% of its 2005 economic output), several manufacturing titans remain, e.g., Cadbury, Jaguar, Aston Martin, etc.
Birmingham is also known as the "canal capital" for its seemingly endless canals which snake through the city. Venice, Italy's waterways are certainly more famous, but Birmingham's 32 miles of narrow canals exceed Venice's 26 miles. You'll find in our "Work Out" section that Birmingham's channels, if nothing else, make for great run routes.
Birmingham's canals are unique and its manufacturing history interesting, however, we find the city's propensity for churning out famous music bands and artists fascinating. Possibly befitting its manufacturing heritage, Birmingham is credited with introducing "heavy metal" music to the rest of the world. Most of Led Zeppelin's members started here along with other celebrated groups such as Black Sabbath (whose lead singer was none other than Ozzy Osborne), and Judas Priest. But musically-inclined Brummies are not ONLY known for heavy drum beats and electric guitar riffs. Duran Duran's New Wave, UB40's Reggae (incidentally, UB40 stands for Unemployment Benefit Form 40), and Steve Winwood's Blues-Rock, all burst forth from Birmingham's womb.
No matter your taste in music, click through the following Birmingham pages to get your Second City sweat groove on!