The West Midlands, home to cities such as Birmingham and Coventry, have played an important role in British trade and industry since the Middle Ages. Coventry, situated in the South-East of the West Midlands, rose to prominence during the Middle Ages on the back of the success of its textile industry. Later on, with the coming of the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham towards the north-west became known as a centre of scientific, technological, and economic development.
Birmingham, West Midlands
By the start of the 19th century it had earned itself a reputation as the “first manufacturing town in the world”, and to this day it retains the nickname “Workshop of the World”. The effect of the Industrial Revolution on the West Midlands was so large that the area in the north-western corner of the county became known as the “Black Country”, in reference to the pollution caused by the many iron foundries and steel mills that sprung up in the area.
Dudley, West Midlands
Today, manufacturing still plays an important part in the West Midlands economy, with internationally renowned producers such as Bentley, Jaguar-Land Rover, Rolls Royce and Toyota all having operations in the region. In recent years however, many companies from the services industry have also been setting up offices in the West Midlands, specifically Birmingham. They are attracted to the area because of its great local and international transport links, the large talent pool available thanks to the area’s many universities, as well as the vibrant arts and culture of the area.
West Midlands Safari Park.
Birmingham is also home to a burgeoning tech community, based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus (IBC). Housed in the Birmingham Science Park Aston, the IBC fosters innovation and growth in the tech industry by providing start-ups with free, flexible office space, as well as the opportunity to engage with more established businesses and mentors. The hype surrounding companies such as Droplet, an app that allows users to make and receive payments for free, is just a small indication of the potential of the modern West Midlands.
Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands