Birmingham Directory

Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands county of England. It is the most populous British city outside London, with a population of 1,028,700 (2009 estimate), and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the United Kingdom's second most populous urban area with a population of 2,284,093 (2001 census). Birmingham's metropolitan area, which includes surrounding towns to which it is closely tied through commuting, is also the United Kingdom's second most populous with a population of 3,683,000.

Although Birmingham's industrial importance has declined, it has developed into a national commercial centre, being named in 2010 as the third-best place in the United Kingdom to locate a business. Birmingham is a national hub for conferences, retail and events along with an established high tech, research and development sector, supported by its three Universities. It is also the fourth-most visited city by foreign visitors in the UK, has the second-largest city economy in the UK.

Much of the area now occupied by the city was originally a northern reach of the ancient Forest of Arden, whose former presence can still be felt in the city's dense oak tree-cover and in the large number of districts such as Moseley, Saltley, Yardley, Stirchley and Hockley.