The West Midlands
West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009
estimated population of 2,.6 million. The West Midlands is made up of parts of
Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, and was created in 1974 as part
of the local Government Act 1972. The cities of Birmingham, Coventry and
Wolverhampton along with Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall make up the
seven boroughs of the West Midlands.
The component boroughs of the West Midlands are therefore
essentially unitary authorities Bordering Staffordshire, Worcestershire and
West Midlands is a landlocked region and is one of the most heavily urbanised
areas in the UK. Birmingham, Wolverhampton, the Black Country and Solihull
collectively form the most populous conurbation in the United Kingdom outside
London, with a collective population of around 2.27 million. However, the West
Midlands is not completely urban; Coventry is separated from the West Midlands
conurbation by a stretch of green belt land roughly 15 miles (24 km) across,
known as the "Meriden Gap", which maintains a strongly rural
character. Barr Beacon and Sandwell Valley are two other smaller areas of green
belt located within the region.
highest point in the West Midlands is Turners Hill, with a height of 271 m (889
ft). The hill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Situated on the border
of Walsall and Birmingham, Barr Beacon is the second highest
point with a height of 227m. Located in Sutton Coldfield, Sutton Park is a Site
of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is one of 23 such sites situated in
the West Midlands. With an area of 2,400 acres Sutton Park is one of Europe’s
largest urban parks and the largest positioned outside a capital city. National
Nature Reserve status has also been awarded to the park.
was one of England's most influential cities during the Middle Ages, with its
prosperity built upon wool and cloth manufacture. The West Midlands is renowned
for its engineering heritage and traditional industries of Birmingham and
Wolverhampton include the metal trade dating back to the 16th century.
Wolverhampton was known as a hub for lock manufacture and brass working, whilst
the production of small arms was known in Birmingham.
were all sourced from the coal and iron ore stocks situated within the Black
Country area of the West Midlands. The West Midlands area grew rapidly during
the Industrial Revolution and by the 20th century had grown into one large
conurbation. Development was slower in Coventry, but by the early 20th century,
it had become a major centre of bicycle and car manufacture.
of interest include: Bescot Stadium (Walsall F.C.),
Birmingham Bull Ring shopping centre, Aston Hall, Birmingham Botanical Gardens,
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Black Country Living Museum, Birmingham
Hippodrome, Blakesley Hall, Coventry Cathedral, Cadbury World, Bourneville,
Coventry Transport Museum, Coventry Sky Dome Arena, Coventry Transport Museum,
Dudley Zoo, Dudley Castle, International Convention Centre (including Symphony
attractions include Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham,
National Exhibition Centre, Molineux Stadium (Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.),
National Indoor Arena (NIA), Netherton Tunnel, Sea Life Centre Birmingham,
Ricoh Arena (Coventry City Football Club), Perrott's Folly, Sarehole Mill, The
Hawthorns (West Bromwich Albion Football Club), St Andrew's (Birmingham City
Football Club), Thinktank and IMAX Cinema, Tyseley Locomotive Works, Millennium
Point, Birmingham, University of Birmingham, Walsall Art Gallery, Wightwick
Manor and Villa Park - the home of Aston Villa Football Club.
University, the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University, Coventry
University, the University of Warwick, Wolverhampton University make up
the seven universities of the West Midlands.
Metropolitan College is one of the largest further and higher education
institutions in the country. Plans are afoot for the construction of a new campus in the Perry Barr region of Birmingham. The West Midlands is
home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club who play at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.