With a population of almost 1,000,000 (according to the 2001 census) Birmingham is the UK's second largest city and it's history can be traced back almost 2000 years. Located in the heart of the midlands of England, the city experienced rapid growth during the industrial revolution of the 18th century. The many canals threading through the region were the lifeline of industry, allowing the transportation of coal, iron, merchandise and anything else that could be transported by barge to and from anywhere in the country. Traces of this history are still scattered around the city, including many of the original buildings.
Here's a link to my early post of little known trivia about the city.