One region, many worlds
Imagine a world without William Shakespeare, drinking chocolate, Peaky Blinders, The Lord of The Rings, Forza, Typhoo Tea, League Football, Two-Tone Records, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Chubb Locks, HP Sauce, Cluedo, Wimbledon, Norton Motorbikes, Jack Reacher, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Balti curries, Rugby Union, the World Wide Web, the black London taxi, and Bird’s Custard. That’s a world without The West Midlands.
WHERE WE’VE COME FROM
A constant source of inspiration, innovation and progressive thinking, the West Midlands has always embraced new ideas, encouraged debate, and challenged the status quo. It played a key role in the rise of the anti-slavery movement, and it has nurtured many political, social and spiritual movements which have brought about positive change. In the mid-18th century, it gave rise to The Lunar Society – a collective of enlightened intellectuals, scientists, philosophers, artists and academics who devoted their energies to improving the world around them. This group’s influence reached around the globe, and their work has left an indelible mark on the way we all live.
The West Midlands was also the cradle of the world’s first industrial revolution; kickstarting a tradition of innovation, productivity and progressive thinking which remains ingrained across the region. Such curiosity, tolerance and inventiveness has helped make the West Midlands what it is today; and it’s these qualities and values which also underpin our exciting future.
WHAT WE ARE
A rich blend of different places, people and perspectives. Located right in the middle of the UK, the West Midlands is a place of immense contrasts which somehow just seem to gel. It includes world-renowned cities – Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and Lichfield – while also being home to historic market towns like Dudley, West Bromwich, Solihull, Warwick and Walsall. But even then, much of the region is rural, meaning there are hundreds of villages – and thousands of acres of unspoilt English countryside – to explore, just minutes from your front door.
Equally diverse are the people and communities who proudly call the West Midlands their home. Its people have warmly welcomed settlers, immigrants, incomers and refugees for centuries, which is why it is one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the whole of Europe.
It’s also why you’ll find people from nearly 200 different countries rubbing shoulders on its streets, sharing their distinctive experiences, insights and traditions. That helps explain why it’s the UK’s most popular destination for overseas business visitors, attracting millions of foreign tourists every year to add even more international flavour. This gives the region a uniquely global, multicultural and inclusive perspective on everything it does, and means you get to enjoy a kaleidoscope of different cultures and countries in one special place.
HOW IT SHAPES US
A place that never stands still and embraces change, the West Midlands is constantly evolving, particularly over the last two decades when immense amounts of regeneration, investment and reinvention have completely transformed much of the region. Ten Michelin-starred restaurants, globally celebrated artists like Carlos Acosta choosing it as a base, and the likes of Goldman Sachs deciding it’s the best place in the UK to create a new national HQ, are impressive transformation indicators.
Exactly why the West Midlands continues to be a magnet for such a heady mix of creative and commercial talent, and communities from every corner of the planet, is still a bit of a mystery – one that we invite you to unravel for yourself. But some think the very fact that the West Midlands is in the middle of the country – where historically the nation’s waterways, railways and roads have always intersected, and where different people have always met, traded and exchanged ideas – means it has developed an instinctive flair for inventiveness, and collaboration. It also has a history of straight talking, negotiation, and good old-fashioned deal-making – qualities that are more important today than ever before!