Welcome to Birmingham, the United Kingdom's second largest city.
Despite its current size, Birmingham grew late in relation to other British cities and was a market town right up until the Industrial Revolution. At this time, luminaries such as Matthew Boulton & James Watt (inventors of the steam engine), William Murdock (inventor of gas lighting) and Joseph Priestley (who discovered oxygen) put Birmingham on the map. A massive system of canals were built to cope with the influx of traffic, so that Birmingham now has a more extensive canal network than Venice.
World War II saw heavy damage inflicted upon the city, and an equally brutal reconstruction program that earned Birmingham's inner ring road the nickname 'the concrete collar'. However, Birmingham's relationship with the car goes deeper than this; it saw the building of the first four-wheeled petrol driven car by F W Lancaster in 1895, and now acts as the UK's motor-manufacturing hub (earning it the nickname Brum).
Birmingham has since been reborn as a business and conference centre, and is busy rebuilding itself into the sub-capital it always should have been.