Tag: Birmingham

10 Interesting Facts about the Midlands

10 Interesting Facts About the Midlands

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The Midlands don’t get enough attention. The truth is, the often overlooked region of the UK is actually more interesting than you may initially think. Here are 10 Interesting Facts About the Midlands.

They Invented the USA

Well, maybe ‘invented’ is a bit much. The truth is though, the concept of the ‘Land of the Free’ originated in North Nottinghamshire. A group of religious separatists first thought up the idea of setting sail for America in the midlands. The persecution-fleeing residents then travelled to the country, making it their home.

It’s a Little Cheesy

Okay, so you know Stilton gets its name from a village in Cambridgeshire? Well it’s actually got nothing to do with the place. The truth is, Stilton originated from the Midlands and by law must be made in either Leicestershire, Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire. This feels like a pub quiz question waiting to happen.

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Holidays Started in the Midlands

Back in the 1800s, mass tourism didn’t exist. Only the wealthy or privileged travelled for pleasure. That all changed in 1841 when cabinet maker Thomas Cook (yes that Thomas Cook) struck upon the idea of arranging a train to carry passengers from Leicester to Loughborough and back for a shilling per head. This was the real beginnings of the British tourism industry.

A True Balti’s From Birmingham

If we asked you, where’s the best place to go in the world for a Balti, your answer would probably be India. Unfortunately, you’d be mistaken. The dish actually originates from Birmingham. The Balti gets its name from the pressed-steel wok-like pan it’s cooked (and often served) in.

The Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age

Archaeologists have labelled the Creswell Crags (a limestone gorge between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) the Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age. This ancient cave is host to an array of roof art dating back 13,000 years. Michelangelo eat your heart out!

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Nuclear Inspiration

Scientists Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls are famously attributed with being the first to design a theoretical mechanism for the detonation of a nuclear bomb in 1940. What isn’t widely reported is that the pair were actually living in Birmingham at the time of their world-changing discovery.

Midlands or Middle Earth?

In JRR Tolkien’s famous novels, the fictitious setting of Middle Earth was actually based on Warwickshire. Living in the village of Sarehole, there are clear similarities between Tolkien’s local area and the fictional Hobbiton and The Shire. The mill which features in the stories is considered to be based on Sarehole Mill.

Coventry Becomes German Wartime Slang

In the Second World War, the German bombing of Coventry left the city devastated. This led the city’s name to become German wartime slang. Coventriert (or ‘Coventried’) referred to the complete destruction of a built up area.

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The Story of the Birmingham’s Silver Anchor Hallmark

Any silver produced in Birmingham is etched with the city’s hallmark of an anchor. This is quite an intriguing fact when considering that Birmingham is actually the furthest UK city from the coast. So where did this hallmark arise from? As the story goes, the hallmark was chosen by way of coin toss in a London pub the Crown & Anchor. Allegedly, Birmingham lost the coin toss and were given the anchor while Sheffield who were victorious took the symbol of the crown (which later changed to a rose).

Icebergs for the Desert

The Lunar Society of Birmingham was an 18th century intellectual society renowned for its great minds and intelligent approach to resolving the world’s issues. One such bright idea, proposed by Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin, involved towing icebergs from the artic to the equator in a bid to cool the topics and irrigate deserts.

A Property Detective report may not be able to offer fun facts about the history of an area. It can however shed vital information on the local amenities, crime rates, noise levels, schools, flight paths and much more. Get your Property Detective report here.

Green Space in the City - The UK's Top 10

Green Space in the City – The UK’s Top 10

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Urban living is pretty dreary at times. The concrete jungle can be a demoralising place to spend your life. There’s been countless studies about how important green space is for our health. But what UK city actually has the most green space? With a little help from satellite mapping experts Esri UK, we can answer just that.

The Benefits of Green Space

It’s widely recognised that green space is highly beneficial to the well-being of urban dwellers. This is so prevalent that even city planners make a point of allocating specific areas solely for vegetation. This isn’t just for aesthetic reasons either. Here are some of the most obvious benefits of city green space:

  • Air quality – It’s recognised that air quality in cities like London and Manchester is pretty poor. Thankfully parks go some way in boosting this. It’s said that a single tree can remove a level of carbon dioxide equivalent to 11,000 miles of car emissions every year. That’s a pretty remarkable stat when you think about it.
  • Reduced stress – It’s recognised that green spaces aid in reducing stress and depression.
  • Boosts chances of exercise – It’s been found that living near a green space boosts an individual’s chances of engaging in regular exercise.
  • Boosts life satisfaction – In a study by the University of Exeter, those living near green spaces reported higher life satisfaction than those who did not.
  • Escapism – It’s believed that urban green spaces offer a level of escapism from city life, this has a dramatic effect on an individual’s personal wellbeing.
  • Reduced crime rates – There’s a proven correlation between access to public parks and a reduction in crime rates.

So it’s proven that green space is great for cities. But which city has the most greenery in the UK? Here’s the top 10:

10. Liverpool (16.4%)

Coming in tenth place is the Northern city of Liverpool. With only 16.4% of the city green, you could be forgiven for feeling a little underwhelmed by Liverpool’s parks. This shouldn’t be the case. The city is actually home to ten listed parks and cemeteries with two Grade I and five Grade II green areas. The English Heritage National Register of Historic Parks claims that the Victorian Parks in Liverpool are ‘the most important in the country’. Unfortunately, there is a rising anxiety in Liverpool about potential developments further reducing the city’s green spaces.

Liverpool Green Space

9. Bradford (18.4%)

With only 18.4% green space in the city, Bradford comes in ninth. Alike Liverpool, there have been numerous reports of residents angry at potential development decreasing this percentage. In September 2016, The Bradford Property Forum explained that the city’s green belt would need to be developed if the city is to stand a chance of competing with its Northern neighbours.

Bradford Green Space

8. Manchester (20.4%)

Manchester may come in relatively low on this list but it would seem there’s plenty of hunger in the thriving Northern capital. There are many picturesque suburban parks in the city but the centre seriously lacks green space. With Manchester’s green space totalling a lacklustre 20.4%, there seems to be a local desire to boost this. There’s been a large boom in residents planting and growing vegetation in makeshift areas. Furthermore, in October 2016, Manchester Evening News reported the plans for an 800 acres of Green Space stretching from Salford, Bury and Bolton.

Manchester Green Space

7. Leeds (21.7%)

Leeds may have a deep industrial heritage but that doesn’t mean it lacks greenery! From nature reserves to picnic spots, parks and even landscape gardens, Leeds boasts 21.7% green space. Did you know, Leeds has 20 different nature reserves? It’s a huge number and testament to the city’s thirst for nature.

Leeds Green Space

6. Sheffield (22.1%)

Just edging to sixth place ahead of Leeds, 22.1% of Sheffield is green space. In fact, the city is clearly very proud of its parks and natural recreational areas. The University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape is even leading a project (Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature) that will study how people from different areas of the city use local parks and how this improves their health.

Sheffield Green Space

5. Greater London (23%)

It would surprise many that London appears so high on this list. London goes to extraordinary lengths to keep green space plentiful and enjoyable – this is evident in its remarkable 23% green space figure. When confronted by the pollution, car horns and endless rows of concrete, it’s easy to forget that luscious nature walks are only a stone’s throw away. From Hampstead Heath to Finsbury Park, Hyde Park to Clapham Common, there’s plenty of greenery to enjoy in the capital.

Greater London Green Space

4. Birmingham (24.6%)

Birmingham has more parks than any European city. It’s no surprise then that the UK’s ‘second city’ comes in fourth on this list. With 24.6% of the urban area made up of greenery, there’s plenty of recreation space available to residents. Not only this, venture to the outskirts and you’ll be confronted by some of the most tranquil woodlands, wetlands and lakes.

Birmingham Green Space

3. Bristol (29%)

Hitting the dizzying heights of third spot, Bristol is the greenest city in England. Offering up 29% green space, the city clearly has a concrete jungle heart but with broad and luscious rolling fields to the North West of the city. The Bristol Post does question the validity of this research, discussing the city boundaries. Wherever the discussion about borders leads, we like to have a little pride in Bristol’s whopping 29% figure.

Bristol Green Space

2. Glasgow (32%)

With double the green space of tenth place Liverpool, Glasgow offers a phenomenal 32% figure. From parks to spontaneous pockets of nature, the Scottish city is bursting with recreational areas. In fact, Understanding Glasgow claim 80% of children in the city live within 400 metres of publicly accessible green space.

Glasgow Green Space

1. Edinburgh (49.2%)

Edinburgh takes top spot in this list with an outrageously high figure of 49.2% green space. Edinburgh City Council Transport and Environment Convener Lesley Hinds offers her support for the city’s greenery: “We think very much of our green spaces here in Edinburgh and are proud to maintain more than 130 publicly accessible parks and Natural Heritage Sites encompassing 45% of all Green Flag parks in Scotland”. There’s no denying that the vast amount of greenery plays a large part in the city’s beauty and charm.

Edinburgh Green Space

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All satellite images courtesy of Esri UK.