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Birmingham or Brum

Birmingham is a place that really lends itself to trivia, so here are some things you might not know about Brum.

Birmingham has the largest road junction in the world, the infamous Spaghetti Junction. It is almost impossible to enter Spaghetti Junction and leave it on the road you were hiring for, unless you have years of practice – even then, it's far from a sure thing.

JRR Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings series, lived in Birmingham in his childhood, and the city has all sorts of events to celebrate him. It is said that the worlds he wrote about in his books were inspired by the countryside surrounding Birmingham.

Birmingham hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998. This disappointed many people involved, who were expecting that when the UK hosted the contest they would get to go to London! This was the year that Israeli transsexual Dana International won the contest. That same year, Bill Clinton visited Birmingham, and apparently liked it a lot. When he had a pint of beer in a local pub, however, he apparently never actually paid for it.

Centenary Square has over half a million bricks, but every single one was put down by hand. Victoria Square has one of the largest fountains in Europe, pushing out over 10,000 liters of water every minute.

The Mini was first designed and manufactured in Birmingham, in 1959. It's also the home of HP Sauce, the delicious fruity brown sauce that is second only to Marmite in the "weird things English people like" stakes. Other Birmingham interventions include gas lighting and X-rays.

And every year, for some strange reason, the German town of Frankfurt holds a German market in Birmingham. Why? Who knows, but it's become something of a quirky tradition, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Source by John Gibb

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