Birmingham is like a city waking up from a nightmare. The fact is that Birmingham was an industrial city and suffered heavy bomb damage during World War II, and thus the city center was extensively re-developed during the 1950s and 60s, with many concrete office buildings, ring-roads, and pedestrian subways. As a result, Birmingham gained a reputation for ugliness and depression.
Birmingham was also apparently the birthplace of the nuclear weapons and much of the research into the development of nuclear weaponry happened at Birmingham University during the 1940s. Ugly.
In recent years however, Birmingham has been transformed with the city center extensively renovated with the construction of new squares and the restoration of old streets, buildings and canals (apparently Birmingham has more canals than Venice does). Some pedestrian subways have been removed, and the Bull Ring shopping center has been redeveloped, including the architecturally unique alien-looking Selfridges building (see pictures).
I like Birmingham. It is a city trying to be better. It has really good nightlife and parks, and the people are very nice and helpful. It's just that accent...hard to describe and hard to like. It is sort of like John Lennon's accent except less lyrical and harder to understand. Makes understanding my students quite difficult!
More shots of Birmingham City Center.
I live in the beautiful town of Harborne south-west of the city center.
More to come...