On Tuesday 23 September, 6H and 6C went on a Geography Field trip to Birmingham City Centre. The purpose of our trip was to learn more about the city that we live in and to think about the places that we know and see frequently, but to think about the history behind them.
We found out how Birmingham was transformed into a huge market town. Here is how it happened: in 1086, Birmingham was a poor manor house with about 10 houses. In 1166 Peter de Birmingham (Lord Birmingham) bought a ‘market charter’ for Birmingham. This allowed Birmingham to hold a weekly market. Soon, the market was thriving! It was held in the Bull Ring and Birmingham became famous as a market town, over time it became a centre for trade and industry, and now the city is renowned for leisure, business and education. The city is thriving with an approximate and very diverse population of 3,701,107 (Source: Wikipedia, 2012).
The prominent people of Birmingham included: John Cadbury, Joseph Chamberlain, Matthew Boulton and also James Brindley. They were famous industrialists and were a few of the many people who helped transform Birmingham. Matthew Boulton was the founder of the ‘Lunar Society’ also known as the ‘Lunaticks’, he recruited James Brindley and James Watt. This society was so- named the ‘Lunaticks’ because they met at Soho House on every Full Moon. Matthew and James built the canals for Birmingham; this helped transport a great deal, because the horse and cart was a poor method for transportation of fragile goods along very poor road surfaces (we think the roads are poorly maintained today!). John Cadbury founded the Cadbury chocolate company which was the first company to care for its staff by providing: spacious homes, trips, education, sporting facilities, doctors and pensions. Joseph Chamberlain was vital to the development of Birmingham, he brought fresh water to the city which is why there is water around his monument in Chamberlain Square. He also founded the University of Birmingham, one of the best Universities in the country. The Chamberlain Tower at the University (also known as Old Joe) stands as a monument to Joseph and is the tallest free standing clock tower in the world.
Buildings in Birmingham
We saw the oldest structure in Birmingham – ‘The Old Crown’. The Old Crown was constructed around 1450. It has had many uses in its past, the building has been used as: a guild hall, a school, an inn and a slaughterhouse. It is now an inn again! The two most unusual and modern buildings in Birmingham, in my opinion, is Selfridges at the Bull Ring, it has 15,000 individual discs silver discs as part of the exterior features. It would take a while to clean them! Another outstanding building is the Cube; it is almost a perfect cube shape and has many exciting features! The Cube contains apartments, restaurants, shops and offices.
The Café Opus at Ikon was originally a school with no heating, as it was believed that children worked more efficiently and more quickly in bitterly cold conditions. Punishment could simply have been that the children had to stay in their seat; they would have frozen very quickly! There were even vents in the roof allowing rain, snow or hail to sneak through the vents and freeze everyone. Children in Year 5 and Year 6 were then Teaching Assistants, so they would help everyone else. As if their education could get any worse, they only had one class, so children in Nursery, would be with Year 4s!
I thought that this trip was amazing! I found it surprisingly interesting and enjoyable, considering it was a trip around our home city! Huge thanks go to: Mr Braisby – for being an excellent tour guide, John – for safely transporting us to and from Birmingham, Mrs Andrews – for excellent organisation! Also to Miss Crews and Miss Green for supervising us!
Aran Bansal, 6H