Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM, a great town, the fourth in point of population in England, at the NW angle of Warwickshire, adjacent to Worcestershire and Staffordshire, 82 miles SSE of Manchester, 97 SE by S of Liverpool, and 112 NW of London. It is all, as a borough, in Warwickshire; but, as to its suburbs, it extends into Worcestershire and Staffordshire. It stands on Icknieldstreet, which gives name to a street, a road, and a square; on the streams Rea, Tame, and Cole; and on an ample system of railways and canals, which give it communication with all parts of the kingdom. The main lines of the Northwestern and the Midland railways, together with the South Stafford, the Stour Valley, and other subordinate lines, have a central station in it; and the Great Western, with branches radiating through the west of England and into Wales, has another station. The chief canals are the Staffordshire, the Warwick, and the Worcester; the last of which was, in 1865, about to be converted into a railway.

History.—An early name of the place was Bromwycham, signifying "house of broom village," and alluding probably to the existence around it of an extensive heath; and the present name arose from that of the lords of the manor after the Conquest; but upwards of one hundred and fifty varieties of the names, or of the spellings of them, have been traced. A Roman station, called Bremeninm, was supposed to have been here; but this is now set aside as fabulous. The original village is believed to have existed as part of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia; but was too obscure to he noted on a map. It is conjectured to have begun the working of iron at a very early period; but the earliest authentic mention of it is in the pages of Leland, who describes it as a town of smiths. Birmingham makes very little figure in early history. Some of the inhabitants followed the lords of the manor, in the time of Henry III., to the battle of Evesham; and most, in the time of Charles I., were warm partizans in the cause of the parliament. They furnished 15,000 sword-blades to the parliamentarian army; they seized the king's personal effects on occasion of his making a halt at Aston Hall; they confronted and fought a royalist force of 2,000 men sent to punish them; and they suffered then a discomfiture which cost them a good number of lives, and a destruction of property to the value of £30,000. The town was nearly depopulated by the plague in 1665; but it rose to a population of 15,032 at the end of the next 35 years; and it thenceforth became so devoted to industry as to grow rapidly in prosperity and consequence. No public question, for a long time, disturbed it. In 1791, a politico-religions riot occurred, with the effect of destroying several-lives and about £50,000 worth of property; in 1831, the famous political union, with Thomas Attwood at its head, assisted greatly to compel the passing of the reform bill; and in 1839, chartist riots broke out, and were quelled only by a large detachment of London police, and the arrival of a considerable body of soldiers. Since that time, the town has been one of the quietest in the kingdom. The Duke of York publicly visited it in 1765; the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria, in 1830; Prince Albert in 1844, 1849, and 1855; Queen Victoria, in 1849, 1852. and 1858; the Duke of Cambridge, in 1857; and Louis Kossuth, in 1852 and 1857. The British Association held their meetings in it in 1839, 1849, and 1865; and the Social Science Association held their first meeting in it in 1857.

Site and Streets.—Part of the town stands on comparatively low ground; but much stands on a hill, nearly in the form of a crescent. This hill is part of the watershed between the eastern and the western seas; and rises 115 feet in 1,000 yards from the side of the Rea; and one portion of it, nearly in the centre of the borough, occupied by St. Philip's church, is 475 feet above low watermark at London bridge. The town is compact; and, including the suburbs, extends about 4 miles by 6. The streets are very numerous, generally short and irregular; and give an aggregate length of nearly 200 miles. Newstreet is the most brilliant; High-street and Bull-street are conspicuous; and many others are full of good shops and have a lively appearance. The houses are in general well-built, chiefly of brick; most of the more recent faced with Roman cement and plaster; but many, especially in the principal streets, are now built of stone. An almost fourfold increase in the total of houses has taken place since the beginning of the century; and this has made a very great change in the general aspect of the town. Spots formerly occupied by villas, gardens, orchards, and bare common, are now covered by busy streets; and places formerly distant from the town and altogether rural, are now disposed in pleasant suburbs.

Public Buildings.—The town hall, at the top of Newstreet, was built in 1832-1850, at a cost of nearly £50,000. The material of it is Anglesey marble; and the style Roman-Corinthian, after the model of a peripteral Grecian temple. The basement of it is 23 feet high; the columns, 36 feet high and 3½ feet thick; the capitals, 4 feet high. The chief apartment can accommodate 3,000 persons sitting, or 6,000 standing; is elegantly decorated; and contains a magnificent organ, which cost about £3,500. The exchange, built in 1862-5, on a site adjoining the grammar school, with a frontage of 186 feet toward Stephenson-place, and 63 feet toward New-street, is of stone, after designs by Mr. E. Holmes, in a very mixed Gothic style, four stories high, with a central entrance tower, 100 feet high. The public offices, in Moor-street, were built in 1806, and greatly extended in 1861 and 1865. New corporate buildings and assize courts were projected in 1869, at a cost of £125,500. A new post office, with government grant of £21,850, was projected in 1869. Two large banking offices and a club-house were built in 1869. The borough gaol, at Winson-green, was erected in 1845-9, at a cost of £50,000; and has capacity for 391 male and 88 female prisoners. Three sets of public baths are in Kent street, in Woodcock-street, and in Northwood-street. The cavalry barracks, in Great Brook-street, were built in 1793, and possess extensive accommodation. The temperance hall was built in 1860, at a cost of about £2,300; is a neat edifice in the Italian style; and has a room which will accommodate 800 persons. The central railway station, in New-street, was opened in 1854; presents a handsome front, in the Italian style, 312 feet long; and has a magnificent interior, spanned by a semicircular roof of glass and corrugated iron, resting only on massive side pillars, and 1,100 feet long, 212 feet wide, and 80 feet high. A bronze statue of Nelson, by Westmacott, in 1809, a very fine work, is in the Bull Ring; a Sicilian marble statue of Thomas Attwood, by Thomas, is at the top of Stephenson Place; a bronze statue of Sir Robert Peel, by Hollins, is at the top of New-street: a Sicilian marble statue of Joseph Sturge, by Thomas, with fountains and emblematical figures, is at the Five Ways, Edgbaston; and a colossal marble bust of Mendelssohn, by Hollins, is in the townhall. Three other statues were completed in 1868; one of James Watt, by Hollins; one of Sir Rowland Hill, by the same artist; and one of the late Prince Consort, by Foley; but the two latter, though intended for the open air, have been placed within public buildings.

Ecclesiastical Affairs.—The parish of Birmingham, the parish of Edgbaston, and a populous portion of the parish of Aston, are within the borough. The rectories of St. Martin, St. Philip, St. George, St. Thomas, and All Saints, the vicarages of St. Peter, St. Matthias, St. Mary, St. Bartholomew, St. Mark, St. Paul, Christ Church, St. Luke, Bishop-Ryders, St. Stephen, St. Jude, Ladywood, St. Barnabas, St. David, and the p. curacy of Immanuel are in Birmingham parish; all in the diocese of Worcester. Value of St Martin, £1,048;* of St. Philip, £800;* of St. George, £550;* of St. Thomas, £480; of all Saints, £250; of St. Peter, £320; of St. Matthias, £225; of St. Mary, £520;* of St. Paul, £275;* of Christ Church, £370: of St. Stephen, £300;* of St. Jude, £300;* of Ladywood, £300;* of the others, not reported. Patrons of St. Martin, St. George, St. Thomas, All Saints, St. Matthias, St. Mary, St. Mark, St. Luke, Bishop-Ryders, St. David's, Immanuel, and St. Barnabas, Trustees; of St. Philip and Christ Church, the Bishop of Worcester: of St. Stephen and St. Jude, the Bishop and the Crown alternately; of St. Paul, the Rev G. B. P. Latimer; of St. Bartholomew and Ladywood, the Rector of St. Martin; and of St. Peter, the Rector of St. Philip. The other livings within the borough are noted in the articles Edgbaston and Aston.

The places of worship, in 1865, were 35 of the Church of England, and about 91 of other denominations; and many of them were recent structures. Those in 1851, according to the Census, were 25 of the Ch. of England,. with 30,843 sittings; 1 of Presbyterians, with 700 s.; 12 of Independents, with 6,657 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's,. with 200 s.; 9 of P. Baptists, with 6,749 s.; 1 of G. Baptists, with 568 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 744 s.; 5 of Unitarians, with 3,084 s.; 13 of W. Methodists, with 7,814 s.; 3 of NewMethodists, with 1,388 s.; 3 of Prim. Methodists, with 656 s.; 1 of the W. Association, with 600 s.; 2 of W. Reformers, with 270 s.; 1 of WelshMethodists, with 132 s.; 1 of the New Church with 500 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 100 attendants; 3 of isolated congregations, with 1,800 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 1,600 s.; 2 of the Catholics. and Ap. Church, with 600 s.; 4 of R. Catholics, with 1,549 s.; and 1 of Jews, with 360 s. According to returns, in 1865, the Church of England provides 36,000 sittings.

St. Martin's church, in the Bull Ring, dates from the 13th century; underwent exterior restoration in 1854, at a cost of about £6,000; has a handsome spire, rebuilt at the Restoration; and contains four curious ancient monuments of the Lords de Birmingham. St. Philip's church, in an elevated open area of about four acres, was built in 1715 by. Archer, a pupil of Vanbrugh; is in the Italian style, with tower and cupola; and has a very handsome interior, with about 1,800 sittings. St. George s church, in Tower-street, was built in 1822, by Rickman, at a cost of £12,735; is in the decorated English style; consists of nave, chancel, and side aisles, with pinnacled tower 114 feet high; and contains a fine altar-piece and 1,959 sittings. St. Thomas' church, at Holloway Head, was built in 1829, at a cost of £14,222; is in the Ionic style, with an almost semicircular front, and a tower 130 feet high, crowned by cupola and cross; figures conspicuously in distant views of the town; and contains about 2,400 sittings. All Saints church, at Birmingham Heath, was built in 1833, at a cost of £3,817. St. Peter's church, in Dale End, was built in 1827, at a cost of £19,000; is in the Doric style, with an octagonal turret, after the model of the choragic monument of Lysicrates; and contains an altar-piece of the Ascension, and 1,903 sittings. St. Matthias church, in Farm-street, was founded in 1855; is in the middle pointed style; consists of nave, aisles, chancel, and north and south chapels; and contains 1,151 sittings. St. Mary's church, in St. Mary's square, was built in 1774; and is an octagonal brick edifice, with small stone spire. St. Bartholomew's church, in Masshouse lane, was built in 1749, and is a very plain brick structure, but contains a good altar-piece. St. Mark's church, in King Edward-street, was built in 1841, at a cost of £3,100; and is in the mediæval style. St. Paul's church, in St. Paul's square, was built in 1779; has a very beautiful spire, erected in 1823; and is adorned with a window of stained glass, which cost £440. Christ church, in New-street, was built in 1805-1815, at a cost of about £26,000; is in the Roman Doric style, with lofty portico and spire; and contains a carved mahogany altar-piece, and about 1,500 sittings. St. Luke's church, in Bristol-road, was built in 1842, at a cost of £3,700; is in the Norman style, with a tower; and contains about 1,200 sittings. Bishop-Ryder's church, in Gem-street, was built in 1838, at a cost of £4,500; and is a neat structure of brick and stone, with a lofty tower. St. Stephen's church, in Newtown Row, was built in 1844, at a cost of £3,220; and is in. the Gothic style. St. Jude's church, in Tonk-street, was built in 1851, at a cost of about £2,500; and is in the early English style. Ladywood church, or St. John's Ladywood, was built in 1854; is in the decorated geometric style; consists of nave, chancel, and aisles, with north-western tower: and contains 1,250 sittings. St. Barnabas' church, in Ryland-street North, was built in 1860, at a cost of about £3,000; is in the decorated English style; and presents to the street a good wide window of seven lights, and a neat broach spire. St. David's church, Nelson-street, is decorated Gothic, was built in 1864, and cost about £5,000. Selly Oak church was built in 1861, and is in the early decorated English style, with tower and spire, 150 feet high. St. Gabriel's church, in Barn-street, was built in 1869, at a cost of £4,200. A church for Heath-street was projected in 1869, at a cost of £5,000. Immanuel church, in Broad-street, has superseded the former Magdalen chapel. Other churches are noticed in the articles Aston, Ashted, Deritend, Bromwich-Castle, Bordesley, Saltley, lozells, Edgbaston, and Kings-Norton.

The Presbyterian church, in Broad-street, was founded in 1848; and is an elegant edifice, in the Italian style, with tower and belfry. The Independent chapel, in Carr's lane, noted for the ministry of the Rev. Angell James, was rebuilt in 1820; has an imposing front, in the Grecian style; and contains about 2,100 sittings. The Independent chapel, in Steelhouse lane, was built in 1818; and is a fine brick edifice, with neat spacious interior. The Independent chapel, in Francis-street, Edgbaston, was built in 1855, at a cost of upwards of £7,000; and is in the decorated geometric style, with nave, transepts, tower, and spire. The Moseley Independent chapel was built in 1862; is in an adaptation of the early English style, after designs by Mr. E. Holmes; consists of red brick, with blue and white brick-work in patterns, and Bath stone-dressings; and contains about 1,000 sittings. The Baptist chapel, in Graham-street, was built in 1824; and is a large massive edifice, with Doric portico. The Baptist chapel, in Bradford-street, was originally an amphitheatre, converted to its present use, in 1849, at a cost of £1,200; and is a large edifice of cemented brick. The Baptist chapel, in Heneagestreet, was built in 1840, at a cost of upwards of £4,000; and is very neat and commodious. The Baptist chapel, in Bristol-road, was built in 1861, after designs by Cranston, at a cost of about £7,000; is in the early decorated English style; has a tower and spire 130 feet high; and contains about 900 sittings. The Quakers' meetinghouse, in Bull-street, was rebuilt in 1856; and is in plain Italian style, with massive portico. The Unitarian chapel, in Moor-street, a massive re-erection of 1802, on the site of Dr. Priestley's, was sold in 1861 to the Roman Catholics. A chapel in lieu of this, in Broad-street, stands over the canal; is called the church of the Messiah; was built in 1862, after designs by Bateman, at a cost of £15,000; and is in the geometric style, with large windows and a spire about 150 feet high. The Methodist chapel, in Cherry-street, was rebuilt in 1823, and is a spacious structure; and several of the other Methodist chapels are handsome buildings, especially one in Martin-street, in decorated Gothic, designed by Mr. Chamberlain, and one at the Lozells, also Gothic, designed by Mr. Band. The Church of the Saviour, in Edward-street, not connected with any sect, was built in 1847; shows a plain exterior; but has a tastefully decorated and very beautiful interior. The Roman Catholic cathedral, in Bath-street, was built in 1838, after designs by Pugin, at a cost of about £29,000; is in the Gothic style, with two front towers, each 180 feet high; is interiorly cruciform, and richly embellished; and contains an elaborately carved Flemish pulpit of the 16th century, and relics of St. Chad. The bishop's house, also designed by Pugin, nearly opposite the cathedral, is a fine specimen of the 15th century domestic Gothic. The Oratory, in Hagley-road, Edgbaston, was built in 1852; is a large edifice in the Italian style; and is the residence of a body of priests and laymen, living under the rule of St. Philip Neri, of Florence. The convent in Hunter's-lane, within a mile of the centre of the town, is occupied by "sisters of mercy"' and includes a richly ornamented chapel. The Jews' synagogue, in Blucherstreet, was built in 1856, at a cost of about £10,000; is in the Byzantine style, designed by H. R. Thomason; shows in front a triple-arched portico; and is divided interiorly by two arcades, each of seven arches.

Schools and Colleges.—The schools within the borough in 1851 were 66 public day schools, with 13,032 scholars; 388 private day schools, with 9,151 s.; and 68 Sunday schools, with 21,406 s. The free grammar school, in New-street, was erected in 1834, after designs by Barry, at a cost of £67,000; is of Derbyshire stone, and in a mixed style of Gothic and Tudor; and has a quadrangular form, 174 feet in front, 125 feet in the flanks, and 65 feet high. The endowment for it belonged originally to the guild of the Holy Cross, founded in 1383; was conveyed to the school, in 1552, by Edward VI.; and now yields about £13,000 a year, with a prospect of rapid increase. About 255 boys commonly are taught in the classical department, about 215 in the commercial; and there are ten exhibitions of £50 each, for four years, at Oxford and Cambridge. The Birmingham and Edgbaston proprietory school, in Hagley-road, was founded in 1838; is a handsome edifice, in the Tudor style; and gives a classical and commercial education to the sons and nominees of shareholders. The blue-coat school, in St. Philip's churchyard, was built in 1724, enlarged in 1794; is a noble building; and gives free education to commonly about 140 poor boys and 60 girls. The Protestant Dissenters' charity school, in Graham-street, was established about 1760; is a handsome Tudor edifice; and gives clothing and training to about 35 poor girls. The free industrial school, in Gem-street, was built in 1850; is a neat brick edifice; and has commonly an attendance of about 220 children. There are also a boys' reformatory school at Saltley, a girls' reformatory at Smithwick, and industrial schools in Penn-street and Vale-street.

The diocesan training college, at Saltley, was built in 1852; is a plain yet tasteful edifice, in the domestic style of the 13th century; and trains schoolmasters for the dioceses of Worcester, Lichfield, and Hereford. Queen's college, in Paradise-street, opposite the town hall, is an edifice in the Gothic style; was chartered in 1843, 1847, and 1852; affords instruction in medicine and surgery, in arts, in laws, in civil architecture and engineering, and in theology; comprises rooms for 70 resident students, lecture halls, chemical laboratory, engineering workshops, model-room, museums, libraries, and a chapel; and possesses a variety of endowments, scholarships, and prize-funds. Sydenham college, in Summerlane, was established in 1851: gives a complete course of medical and surgical education; and contains libraries, laboratories, museums, and all other requisite appliances. Spring Hill college, a theological seminary of the Independent body, has been removed to Moseley, and will be noticed in our article on Moseley.

Arts and Literature.—The Birmingham and Midland Institute was incorporated by act of parliament in 1854, has magnificent buildings, designed by E. M. Barry, contiguous to the town hall, in the Roman style, founded in 1855; promotes literature and industrial science; possesses museums and reading rooms; and maintains lectures and periodical meetings. A free public library, and a public gallery of art, are attached to the institute. The school of art dates from 1812; occupies a wing of the institute; and is attended by upwards of 600 students, paying fees to the annual amount of nearly £600. The society of artists have a building in New-street, with elegant Corinthian portico, and a large room surmounted by a cupola; and maintain exhibitions of modern paintings every autumn, besides classes for studying figure drawing. The old library, in Union-street, was erected in 1798, and contains upwards of 40,000 volumes. Other public libraries, of various character, exist in connection with institutions, schools, churches, and chapels; a lending free library is in Constitution Hill; and a new free library was contemplated, in 1865, in Deritend. The botanic garden, in Westbourne-road, Edgbaston, was opened in 1829; is charmingly laid out; and contains a great number of choice plants, both tender and hardy. There were, in 1865, four weekly newspapers, one daily, one on five days of the week, and a monthly periodical, a kind of local Punch.

Amusements.—The theatre, in New-street, was rebuilt in 1821, at a cost of about £14,000; is a handsome edifice, in the Ionic style, with medallions of Shakespeare and Garrick; underwent a complete renovation in 1825; and is capable of accommodating 2,000 persons. Another theatre, in Broad-street, is an edifice in the pointed style of the 14th century; and has accommodation for upwards of 2,000 persons. A grand musical festival is held in the town hall every third year, for the benefit of the general hospital; and generally attracts crowds of strangers. Concerts of a high order also are often given there; balls, lectures, and other entertainments there are not infrequent; and popular concerts are given there every Monday evening, and organ performances every Thursday. Holder's concert-hall measures 116 feet by 72; gives entertainments in all kinds of music; and is open every evening. Day's concert-hall, erected in 1862, is an ornamental edifice in the Italian style, and contains a splendid concert-room 130 feet long, 64 feet wide, and 50 feet high, capable of accommodating 2,000 persons. The Museum concert-hall is also a large and handsome building. Assembly and concert rooms are attached to the Royal hotel. Bingley hall, in Broad-street, was erected in 1850 at a cost of about £6,000; is a plain, huge, brick building, in Roman Doric; and serves both as an amphitheatre, and for exhibitions of cattle, pigs, and poultry. There are three public parks, Adderley park, at Saltley, opened in 1856; Calthorpe park, in Pershore road, opened in 1857; and Aston park, noticed in our article on Aston.

Hospitals and Asylums.—The general hospital, in Summer-lane, is an extensive brick-building, commenced in 1766, opened in 1779, extended in 1830 and in 1857, and about to be remodelled in 1865; contains extensive wards for sick inmates, ranges of offices and apartments for officials, and a committee room, with interesting portraits and busts; ministers in the course of a year, on the average, to nearly 4,000 in-patients, and nearly 20,000 out-patients; makes an annual expenditure of about £10,000; and is supported partly from endowment, partly from the profits of the triennial musical festivals in the town hall, and mainly by annual subscriptions and other voluntary contributions. The Queen's hospital, in Bath-row, was founded in 1840; is a handsome structure of centre and two wings, with a portico; contains 200 beds, besides fever wards; ministers annually to about 2,000 in-patients and nearly 7,000 out-patients; and is supported mainly by voluntary contributions. The dispensary, in Union-street, was erected in 1808, but dates from 1794; ministers yearly to upwards of 6,000 persons; and is supported by subscriptions. The lying-in hospital, in Broad-street, Islington, was founded in 1812; contains 20 beds; and ministers yearly to about 1,130 midwifery cases. The eye infirmary, in Temple-row, was founded in 1824; has wards for indoor patients; and gives relief yearly to about 3,000 cases. The children's hospital, founded in 1862, is in Steelhouse-lane, and has accommodation for in and outdoor patients. There is also a Homœopathic hospital in the Old Square. The lunatic asylum, at Birmingham Heath, was founded in 1847, and opened in 1850; is a neat Tudor edifice, within pleasant grounds of about 20 acres; and has accommodation for nearly 400 patients. The licensed victuallers' asylum, in Bristol road, is a handsome Tudor edifice of 1849; and serves as a home for decayed licensed victuallers and their widows. The institution for the blind at Edgbaston, is a large, fine Tudor edifice, built in 1852, at a cost of upwards of £10,000; stands attached to playgrounds and gardens of about two acres; and has accommodation for upwards of 60 blind boarders. There are also an institution for the deaf and dumb, a magdalen asylum, a number of suites of alms-houses, and a variety of other benevolent institutions.

Cemeteries.—The general cemetery, at Key Hill, comprises nearly eleven acres; was, in great part, excavated from rock; is tastefully laid out with walks and shruberies; has a chapel in the centre; and contains some fine monuments. The Church of England cemetery, near this, was opened in 1848; comprises about nine acres; and has a beautiful cruciform church, in the later English style, with tower and spire. The borough cemetery, at Witton, was recently formed at a cost of about £75,000; comprises 105 acres; and has two fine chapels, in the decorated English style, each with lofty tower and spire,-also a smaller one for Roman Catholics.

Districts.—The parish of Birmingham forms a registration district; divided into the subdistricts of St. Martin, St. Philip, St. George, St. Thomas, All Saints, St. Peter, St. Mary, St. Paul, and Ladywood. The poor-law administration is under a local act. Acres, £2,660. Poor-rates in 1866, £130,694. Pop. in 1841, 138,215; in 1861, 212,621. Houses, 42,389. Marriages in 1866, 2,358; births, 8,980,-of which 441 were illegitimate; deaths, 6,096,-of which 2,830 were at ages under. 5 years, and 49 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 20,172; births, 78,720; deaths, 51,238. The workhouse is on the Dudley road, at Birmingham Heath; was erected in 1852, at a cost of £44,476; is an imposing edifice, in the Tudor style, on grounds of nearly fifteen acres; contains accommodation for 1,666 inmates; and includes an asylum for children and a large chapel. The board-room and offices are at the corner of Paradise-street and Suffolk-street; were built at a cost of £5,100; and are in the Italian style. Workhouse schools for boys were founded in 1869. The portions of the borough not within the parish of Birmingham are in the districts of Aston and Kings-Norton: which see. The town is salubriously situated: escapes much disease in consequence of the dryness of its soil and air; and had no cases of indigenous cholera in the terrible visitations of 1832 and 1850.

Markets and Trade.—Markets are held on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday; a hay market on Tuesday; corn and cattle markets on Tuesday and Thursday; and fairs for three days, commencing on Whit-Thursday, and on the Thursday nearest to 29 Sept. The market hall, extending from the Bull Ring to Worcester-street, is open every day; was constructed at a cost of about £67,261; is in the Grecian style of architecture, with arched entrances and Doric supports; measures 365 feet in length, 108 feet in width, and 60 feet in height; has accommodation for 600 stalls; and contains a grand ornate fountain, upwards of 18 feet high, constructed at a cost of fully £400. The corn exchange, in High-street, was built in 1847, at a cost of £6,000; and is divided interiorly into three compartments by rows of Doric pillars, and covered with a glazed roof. Smithfield market, on the site of the ancient residence of the lord of the manor, was constructed in 1816; covers several acres; and is divided into three departments, for the several kinds of beasts. The general trade of the town, intrinsic, inward, and outward, is connected chiefly with its manufactures, and possesses vast facilities in the ramifications of railway and canal. The post office‡ has, in the town and suburbs, 22 receiving houses and a large number of pillar and wall letter-boxes; and at each of 10 of the receiving-houses are a money-order office and a savings' bank. Telegraph offices are at the railway stations, and at the exchange. The banking offices are Lloyds &Co.'s (which has absorbed Moilliet and Co.'s), the Birmingham bank, the Birmingham Town and District bank, the Birmingham and Midland bank, the Birmingham Joint Stock bank, and branches of the Bank of England and the National Provincial bank. Chief hotels are Nock's Royal, the Stork, the King's Head, the Union, the Swan, the Hen and Chickens, the Queen's (at the North Western station), and a new hotel at the Great Western station.

Manufactures.—Leland, in the time of Henry VIII., said of Birmingham:"There be many smithes in the towne, that used to make knives, and all manour of cutting tooles, and many lorimers that make bittes, and a great many naylors; so that a great part of the towne is maintained by smithes" Camden, in the time of Elizabeth, described it as "swarming with inhabitants, and echoing with the noise of anvils." It made swords by the thousand in the time of Charles I.; reached great improvement in metal-working in the time of Charles II.; began to make fire-arms after the Revolution; and has gone on thence till the present day improving its old trades and adding new ones with an ingenuity, a force and a magnitude unrivalled in the world. It has been stimulated much by the abundance of coal and iron ore in its neighbourhood, but stimulated far more by its own genius; and, while attaining the highest excellence and the greatest breadth in the working of metals, it has become prominent also in dealing with other materials. The largest establishments are for iron and brass founding; for the rolling, stamping, plating, and drawing of metals; for iron roofs and girders, steam engines and railway waggons, lamps and gasometers, galvanized iron and metallic bedsteads; and for glass-blowing, coach-making, and brewing. Trades employing large numbers of workpeople are for tools, machines, steel pens, steel toys, keys, locks, screws, bolts, files, buckles, fire-irons, bridle-bits, iron chains, awl-blades, axle-trees, and nails. Trades of a prominent kind on small objects, either useful or fanciful, are very numerous and exceedingly various. The trades in buttons, in buckles, and in locks alone, have each many different branches. The gun trade is of great extent, and includes many departments. Glass-working, besides crown and sheet window-glass, plate glass, stained glass, chandeliers, candelabra, lustres, and similar objects, produces such things as beads, bugles, buttons, hour-glasses, and many kinds of toys. Gold and silver plating and electro-plating consume annually large supplies of the precious metals. For gold and silver goods there is an assay office in the town. Jewellery of all kinds, and many sorts of silver and gold toys, are made. Papier mache, enamelled and japanned, is a staple trade. Bone, whalebone, ivory, and pearl are largely worked. Chemicals, and articles requiring chemical manipulation, are extensively manufactured. Some of the chief establishments worth visiting are, for iron-foundry, the Soho works and Mr. Clifford's rolling mills; for brass foundry, the show-rooms of the Messrs. Winfield, in Cambridge-street; for steel pens, the works of Mr. Joseph Gillott, in Graham-street; for buttons, the Regent works, in Regent-street; for fire-arms, the establishments of Messrs. Westley, Richards, & Co., in High-street, Messrs. Cooper & Goodman, Woodcock-street, and Messrs. Tipping and Lawden, on Constitution hill; for glass, the establishment of the Messrs. Osler, in Broad-street; for electroplate and silver, the establishment of Messrs. Elkington & Co., in Newhall-street; and for papier mache, the showrooms of Messrs. J. Bettridge & Co., in Barr-street At Small Heath, near the town, is the small-arms factory, built and fitted at a cost of more than £60,000, for making rifles by machinery. The factory is the only one of its kind in England, except the government factory at Enfield, and the works of the London armoury company.

The Borough.—Birmingham was incorporated so late as 1838; and it acquired the right of sending two members to parliament by the reform act of 1832, and the right of sending a third by the bill of 1867. Its borough boundaries, as already noted, include the parishes of Birmingham and Edgbaston, and a populous portion of the parish of Aston; yet they exclude the considerable suburbs of Handsworth and Kings-Norton, as well as some smaller ones. The extreme is 5¾ miles; the mean breadth, 3 miles; and the area, 7,831 acres. The borough is divided into twelve wards-nine of them conterminous with the subdistricts of Birmingham registration district, the other three Edgbaston, Duddeston-cum-Nechells, and Deritend and Bordesley; it is governed by a mayor, fifteen aldermen, and forty-eight councillors; it has a court of quarter sessions, a recorder, and a stipendiary magistrate; and it is a polling place for the northern division of the county. There are also a bankruptcy court and a county court. The police force consists of 377 men, costing £25,289 a year, of which £5,508 is repaid by the imperial treasury. The number of indictable offences committed in 1863 was 883; of persons apprehended, 600; of known depredators and suspected persons at large, 3,554; of houses of bad character, 939. Direct taxes in 1864, about £200,000. Electors in 1868, 15,497. Population in 1801, 73,670; in 1821, 106,722; in 1841, 182,922; in 1861, 296,076; in the middle of 1865 (Registrar General's calculation), 327,834. Houses in 1861, 50,060. Some of the most distinguished names connected with the local history of Birmingham are John Baskerville, James Watt, Dr. Priestley, Hutton, the historian, and Murdoch, the inventor of gas; and two of the most distinguished natives were Bishop Smallbroke and Cary, the translator of Dante.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

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Administrative units: Birmingham PLU/Inc/RegD       London AncC       Staffordshire AncC       Warwickshire AncC       Worcestershire AncC
Place: Birmingham

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