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This led to exceptional levels of inventiveness: between 17 – the core years of the Industrial Revolution – Birmingham residents registered over three times as many patents as those of any other British town or city.

In 1709 the Birmingham-trained Abraham Darby I moved to Coalbrookdale in Shropshire and built the first blast furnace to successfully smelt iron ore with coke, transforming the quality, volume and scale on which it was possible to produce cast iron.

Birmingham's tradition of innovation continued into the 19th century.

Birmingham was the terminus for both of the world's first two long-distance railway lines: the 82 mile Grand Junction Railway of 1837 and the 112-mile London and Birmingham Railway of 1838.

In 1765 Matthew Boulton opened the Soho Manufactory, pioneering the combination and mechanisation under one roof of previously separate manufacturing activities through a system known as "rational manufacture".

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Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom (after London) and the most populous city in the English Midlands.Birmingham's early history is that of a remote and marginal area.The main centres of population, power and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.In the decades following World War II, the ethnic makeup of Birmingham changed significantly, as it received waves of immigration from the Commonwealth of Nations and beyond.21 people were killed and 182 were injured in a series of bomb attacks in 1974, thought to be carried out by the Provisional IRA.

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