In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Birmingham like this:
Birmingham, parl. and mun. bor. and par., on NW. border of Warwickshire, 88 miles SE. of Liverpool and 113 NW. of London by rail -- par., 2955 ac., pop. 246,353; mun. bor. (comprising also Edgbaston par. and part of Aston par.), 8400 ac., pop. 400,774; parl. bor., pop. 437,076. Birmingham is situated on the verge of a great coal and iron dist., nearly in the centre of England, and built on a rising ground, the workshops and warehouses being in the lower parts of the city. Among the principal public buildings are the Town Hall, erected for public meetings and festivals as well as municipal purposes, and containing one of the largest and finest organs in the world; the County Court Buildings (1883); the Institute; the Exchange; the Post Office; and Corporation buildings; a new public gallery of art; a free library, which, with its branches, possesses over 70,000 vols.; Queen's College, for the study of theology, medicine, and arts; the Royal College, for medicine, arts, engineering, and law; Springhill College, for the education of clergymen of the Independents; the Wesleyan College, opened 1881: the College of Science and Art, founded by Sir Josiah Mason and opened in 1880; the Free Grammar School, founded by Edward VI; the R.C. ...
College at Oscott; the R.C. Cathedral of St Chad, &c. It is the principal centre of metal mfrs., consisting of articles in iron, gold, silver, brass, steel, &c., valued at over £5,000,000 per annum. Of these the most important are the mfr. of fire-arms and swords, in some recent years as many as 500,000 gun-barrels being tested annually; the mfrs. of boilers and engines, the largest works, founded in 1757, being at Soho; the steel pen mfr., 900,000,000 pens being annually produced; the making of railway carriages and waggons; jewellery and electro-plate mfrs., which are continually on the increase; iron casting of all kinds; galvanised ironware; fancy-goods in leather, wood, papiér-maché, &c. Erasmus Darwin, poet and naturalist (1731-1802), resided here. Prior to the great civil war, B. had no prominent place in history, and only since 1832 has it taken a conspicuous part in politics. B. returns 7 members -- 7 divisions, viz., Edgbaston, West, Central, North, East, Bordesley, and South, 1 member for each; its representation was increased from 3 to 7 in 1885, when the parl. limits were extended so as to include the local government districts of Balsall Heath (Worcestershire), Harborne (Staffordshire), and Saltley (Warwickshire), and the hamlet of Little Brom wich (Warwickshire).
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Birmingham has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Birmingham. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Birmingham and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Birmingham in Warwickshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 26th May 2013
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