10 Interesting Facts About the MidlandsNo Comments
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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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.
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