West Midlands (region)

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West Midlands
West Midlands region in England
West Midlands region in England
Coordinates: 52°28′N 2°17′W / 52.47°N 2.29°W / 52.47; -2.29Coordinates: 52°28′N 2°17′W / 52.47°N 2.29°W / 52.47; -2.29
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Status Region
Government
 • Admin HQ Birmingham
 • Leadership West Midlands Councils
 • Regional development Advantage West Midlands
 • European Parliament West Midlands
Area
 • Total 5,020 sq mi (13,000 km2)
Area rank 7th
Population (2011)
 • Total 5,602,000
 • Rank 5th
 • Density 1,100/sq mi (430/km2)
NUTS 1 UKG
GVA per capita £17,161
GVA rank 7th
Website www.wmcouncils.gov.uk

The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. It contains the second most populous British city, Birmingham, and the larger West Midlands conurbation, which includes the city of Wolverhampton and large towns of Dudley, Solihull, Walsall and West Bromwich. The city of Coventry is also located within the West Midlands county, but is separated from the conurbation to the west by several miles of green belt.

The region is geographically diverse, from the urban central areas of the conurbation to the rural western counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire which border Wales. The longest river in the UK, the River Severn, traverses the region southeastwards, flowing through the county towns of Shrewsbury and Worcester, and the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Staffordshire is home to the industrialised Potteries conurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and the Staffordshire Moorlands area, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Park near Leek. The region also encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley, Shropshire hills, Cannock Chase, Malvern Hills, and parts of the Cotswolds. Warwickshire is home to the town of Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of the writer William Shakespeare. The West Midlands and Greater London are the only regions of England and of the United Kingdom which are landlocked.

Geography[edit]

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The official region contains the large conurbation that includes Birmingham and Wolverhampton, but also covers the predominantly rural shire counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

There is some confusion in the use of the term "West Midlands", as the name is also used for the much smaller West Midlands county, and is still used by various organisations within that area such as West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service.

The highest point in the region is Black Mountain, at 703 metres (2,307 ft) in west Herefordshire on the border with Powys, Wales.

The region contains five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), including all of the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Cannock Chase, and parts of the Wye Valley and Cotswolds. The Peak District national park also stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire.

Transport[edit]

Road[edit]

The M6 Toll plaza.

Numerous notable roads pass through the region, with most converging around the central conurbation. The M5, which connects South West England to the region, passes through Worcestershire, near to Worcester, and through the West Midlands county, past West Bromwich, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M6 just south of Walsall. The M6, which has its southern terminus just outside the southeast of the region at its junction with the M1, and which connects the region to North West England, passes Rugby and Nuneaton in Warwickshire, Coventry and Birmingham, and Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. The M6 toll provides an alternative route to the M6 between Coleshill and Cannock, passing north of Sutton Coldfield and just south of Lichfield. The M40 connects the region through South East England to London, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M42; it passes close to Warwick and Banbury. The M42 connects the M5 at Bromsgrove, passing around the south and east of Birmingham, joining the M40 and M6, passing Solihull and Castle Bromwich, to Tamworth, northeast of Birmingham. The M50 connects the M5 from near Tewkesbury to Ross-on-Wye in the southwest. The M54 connects Wellington in the west, passing Telford, to the M6 near Cannock. The A5 road traverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Telford, Cannock, Tamworth and Nuneaton.

Transport policy[edit]

The M45 motorway was one of the first motorways built in the UK, and is now one of the quietest

As part of the transport planning system, the Regional Assembly is under statutory requirement to produce a Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) to provide long term planning for transport in the region. This involves region wide transport schemes such as those carried out by the Highways Agency and Network Rail.[1]

Within the region, the local transport authorities carry out transport planning through the use of a Local Transport Plan (LTP) which outlines their strategies, policies and implementation programme.[2] The most recent LTP is that for the period 2006-11. In the West Midlands region, the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Herefordshire,[3] Shropshire U.A.,[4] Staffordshire,[5] Telford and Wrekin U.A.,[6] Warwickshire,[7] West Midlands[8] and Worcestershire.[9] The transport authority of Stoke-on-Trent U.A. publishes a Joint Local Transport Plan in partnership with Staffordshire County Council to cover the North Staffordshire Major Urban Area, which includes Stoke-on-Trent and the more urban parts of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands.[10]

Towns and cities[edit]

Major towns and cities in the West Midlands region include:[11]

Bold indicates city status.

History[edit]

Scientific heritage[edit]

Francis Galton, from Birmingham, was an important eugenicist from the Darwin–Wedgwood family; a person who had such a profound international impact on the science of breeding and heredity, yet never had any children himself. He invented the term eugenics and the phrase nature versus nurture. He did research from the breeding records of the Basset Hound Club and the hounds of Sir Everett Millais, and his work directly led to the German Society for Racial Hygiene in 1905 founded by Alfred Ploetz. Thomas Wedgwood, son of Josiah Wedgwood, discovered the first photo-sensitive (light-sensitive) chemicals - silver nitrate and silver chloride in the 1790s.

Edward Weston of Oswestry, who emigrated to America, built the first accurate voltmeter in the late 1880s, and the Weston cell in 1893. Francis William Aston of Harborne, and educated at the University of Birmingham, developed mass spectrometry in 1919, which helped him to identify the first isotopes, receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1922. Dennis Gabor invented holography at British Thomson-Houston in Rugby in 1947, receiving the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971.

Philip Lawley of Burton upon Trent was first person to realise that chemical damage to DNA caused cancer (at the Chester Beatty Research Institute in London) in the early 1960s.

Industrial heritage[edit]

Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale

Much of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom began in Birmingham and the Black Country area of West Midlands. The Black Country may be regarded as the World's first industrial landscape,[12] while nearby Ironbridge Gorge claims to be the Birthplace of Industry.[13] The world's first cast iron bridge in 1779 spans the Gorge. The first self-propelled locomotive to run on rails in 1803 at Coalbrookdale, was built by Richard Trevithick. Birmingham's industrial development was triggered by discussions at the Lunar Society of Birmingham at Soho House, Boulton's house, and products were carried along the BCN Main Line canal. Soho Manufactory was the first man-made-powered factory in world. Chance Brothers of Smethwick built the glass for The Crystal Palace in 1851.

Ditherington Flax Mill in Shrewsbury was the first iron-framed building in the world in 1797. Thomas Bolton & Sons of Froghall, Staffordshire, made the world's first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1857, having supplied a submarine cable across the English Channel in 1850. GEC Telecommunications was headquartered at the GEC Telephone and Radio Works in Coventry, it has now become the New Century Park, off the A428 north of Stoke Aldermoor in eastern Coventry. On 10 July 1890, a trunk circuit telephone line was opened between London and Birmingham by the National Telephone Company; for the first time this allowed phone calls between the London and the north.[14]The world's first coaxial cable was laid between London and Birmingham in 1936 to give 40 channels for telephone traffic.[15] and brought into use in 1938, later extended to Manchester in 1940.

Alexander Parkes invented the first man-made plastic (thermoplastic) in Birmingham in 1856. Arthur Leslie Large of Birmingham is credited with inventing the kettle in 1922. Princess Square, Wolverhampton, was the site of Britain's first traffic lights in 1927. Infra-red cameras were developed at the Royal Radar Establishment in Malvern (with EMI Electronics) in 1967. The world's first Maglev train operated Birmingham Airport in 1983.

Much of the UK's car industry would be centred in Coventry and Birmingham; most of this has now gone. Midland Motor Cylinder (part of Birmid Industries) of Smethwick was the largest producer of automobile cylinder blocks in Europe. Fort Dunlop was Europe's largest tyre plant. Metro Cammell in Birmingham made most of the 1970s and 1980s LU underground trains. The MG Rover (a company of Rover) closed in 2005 (from 1885), The Ryton plant closed at the end of 2006. Alfred Herbert of Coventry was the largest machine-tool manufacturer in the UK for many decades; it was brought down in the 1970s by advancing technology overseas, and complacent strategic decisions of the management (caught like a rabbit in the headlights), finally closing in 1982; many Midlands manufacturing companies followed similar fates in the 1970s and 1980s. Tube Investments was based at Tube Investments House, Five Ways, Edgbaston (now a Marriott hotel).

Henry Wiggin & Co of Hereford developed the metal alloys necessary for other Midlands' (and beyond) automotive and aerospace companies - Inconel, Incoloy and Nimonic. It was the lack of vanadium for high-melting point alloys, caused by Royal Navy action, that prevented German Me 262 engines being serviceable; had German World War 2 engineers had a greater supply of vanadium and molybdenum, the engine life (around 12 hours maximum, from entering service in April 1944 to the end of the war) of their jet engine would have increased much more, which would have been significant to the war's outcome. Bristol Siddeley developed the rocket engines for Black Arrow at Ansty; in fact all of R-R's rocket engines were developed and built there at R-R's Industrial and Marine Gas Turbine Division; Britain's smaller rocket engines for missiles were built by Bristol Aerojet in what is now North Somerset.

Cadbury launched Dairy Milk in 1905, Bournville in 1906, Fruit & Nut in 1928 and Whole Nut in 1930.

Regional Assembly[edit]

The official representative body of the region is the West Midlands Leaders Board which has limited administrative functions such as regional planning and economic development. The board is not an elected body, but is made up of members appointed from local councils across the region and is known as a quango. It is based on Edward Street in Birmingham, near the National Indoor Arena. From March 2010, the funding decisions at regional level were taken over by Advantage West Midlands, the Regional Development Agency.

Demographics[edit]

Ethnicity[edit]

The West Midlands is the second most ethnically diverse part of the UK (Greater London being the most diverse). This is in large part due to the West Midlands conurbation, which is highly diverse. The ethnic makeup of the West Midlands as a whole as measured by the 2011 census was as follows:

Ethnic group 2011
population
2011
%
White: British 4,434,333 79.2
White: Irish 55,216 1.0
White: Irish Traveller/Gypsy[note 1] 4,734 0.1
White: Other 139,386 2.5
White: Total 4,633,669

82.7

Asian or Asian British: Indian 218 439 3.9
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 227,248 4.1
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 52,477 0.9
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 31,274 0.6
Asian or Asian British: Asian Other 74997 1.3
Asian or Asian British: Total 604,435

10.8

Black or Black British: Caribbean 86,794 1.6
Black or Black British: African 64,253 1.2
Black or Black British: Other 31,078 0.6
Black or Black British: Total 182,125

3.3

Mixed: White and Caribbean 68,533 1.2
Mixed: White and African 9,232 0.2
Mixed: White and Asian Other 32,561 0.6
Mixed: Other Mixed 21,388 0.4
British Mixed: Total 131,714

2.4

Other: Arab[note 2] 18,079 0.3
Other: Any other ethnic group 31,825 0.6
Other: Total 49,904

0.9

Total 5,601,847

100

Teenage pregnancy[edit]

For top-tier authorities in the West Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent has the highest teenage pregnancy rate. For council districts, Nuneaton and Bedworth in Warwickshire has the highest rate closely followed by Tamworth. For top-tier authorities, Shropshire has the lowest rate, and for council districts Malvern Hills has the lowest rate.

Social deprivation[edit]

The region, from studies of multiple deprivation, shows similarities with Yorkshire and the Humber, and is more deprived than the neighbouring East Midlands. From the Indices of deprivation 2007, it can be seen that, in common with Northern England, the region has more Lower Area Super Output Areas in the 20% most deprived districts than in the 20% least deprived districts.[16] The region's most deprived council districts, in descending order, are Birmingham (10th highest in England), Sandwell (14th), Stoke-on-Trent (16th), Wolverhampton (28th), Walsall (45th), Coventry (61st), and Dudley (100th). These have Labour MPs except for a Conservative MP in Walsall, one in Sandwell, one in Dudley, and one in Wolverhampton (Wolverhampton South West), and a Lib Dem MP for Birmingham Yardley.[17]

The least deprived districts in 2007 (before Shropshire became a unitary authority in 2009) were Bromsgrove, South Staffordshire, Warwick, Wychavon, and Lichfield. These areas, like all rural areas of the West Midlands, have Conservative MPs. At county level, the least deprived areas, in descending order, were Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Solihull, Staffordshire, and Shropshire.

In March 2011 the region had the second highest overall unemployment claimant count in England at 4.7%, second to North East England. The highest in the region was Wolverhampton at 7.7%, the joint second highest (with Manchester) unemployment rate in England. Next is Sandwell with 7.1%, Birmingham with 7.0%, and Walsall with 6.4%. The lowest rate in the region is the district of Stratford-on-Avon, with 1.6% - one of the lowest unemployment rates in England.[18]

Elections[edit]

In the 2010 General Election, the Conservatives gained the largest share of the region by popular vote and took control of the number of seats, with 40% of the region's electorate voting Conservative, 31% Labour and 21% Liberal Democrat (very similar to the East Midlands). Although having a slightly smaller percentage of the vote than the neighbouring East Midlands, the geographic area of the West Midlands is more Conservative, due to Labour's vote now consigned to the urban areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Telford and Stoke-on-Trent. The number of seats is more favoured towards Labour than the geographic spread, with 33 Conservative seats, 24 Labour and 2 Liberal Democrat (neighbouring each other around Solihull). Important metropolitan gains by the Conservatives were in the Dudley and Wolverhampton boroughs. All of Warwickshire, Staffordshire (except Newcastle-under-Lyme), Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire (except Telford) is now Conservative. The Conservatives gained 15 seats with a 6.3% swing from Labour to Conservative.

Eurostat NUTS[edit]

In the Eurostat Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS), the West Midlands form a level-1 NUTS region, coded "UKG", which is subdivided as follows:

NUTS 1 Code NUTS 2 Code NUTS 3 Code
West Midlands UKG Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire UKG1 Herefordshire UKG11
NUTS 3 regions of the West Midlands 2010 map.svg Worcestershire CC UKG12
Warwickshire CC UKG13
Shropshire and Staffordshire UKG2 Telford and Wrekin UKG21
Shropshire UKG22
Stoke-on-Trent UKG23
Staffordshire CC UKG24
West Midlands UKG3 Birmingham UKG31
Solihull UKG32
Coventry UKG33
Dudley UKG36
Sandwell UKG37
Walsall UKG38
Wolverhampton UKG39

Local government[edit]

The official region consists of the following subdivisions:

Map Ceremonial county Shire county / unitary Districts
West Midlands counties 2009 map.svg 1. Herefordshire U.A.
Shropshire 2. Shropshire U.A.
3. Telford and Wrekin U.A.
Staffordshire 4. Staffordshire † aCannock Chase, bEast Staffordshire, cLichfield, dNewcastle-under-Lyme, eSouth Staffordshire, fStafford, gStaffordshire Moorlands, hTamworth
5. Stoke-on-Trent U.A.
6. Warwickshire † aNorth Warwickshire, bNuneaton and Bedworth, cRugby, dStratford-on-Avon, eWarwick
7. West Midlands * aBirmingham, bCoventry, cDudley, dSandwell, eSolihull, fWalsall, gWolverhampton
8. Worcestershire † aBromsgrove, bMalvern Hills, cRedditch, dWorcester, eWychavon, fWyre Forest

Key: †shire county | *metropolitan county

Demography[edit]

Statue of St Michael and Satan at Coventry Cathedral
Ceremonial County Population Population density Largest local authority Largest settlement
West Midlands (region) 5,267,337 405/km² Birmingham (1,006,500) Birmingham (1,006,500)
West Midlands (county) 2,600,100 2,884/km² Birmingham (1,006,500) Birmingham (1,006,500)
Staffordshire 1,062,500 391/km² Stoke-on-Trent (240,636) Stoke-on-Trent (259,252)
Worcestershire 552,900 318/km² Wychavon (116,300) Worcester (93,400)
Warwickshire 522,200 264/km² Warwick (132,900) Nuneaton (70,721)
Shropshire 451,100 129/km² Shropshire (290,900) Telford (138,241)
Herefordshire 177,800 82/km² N/A[19] Hereford (50,400)

The West Midlands' population accounts for almost 11% of England's overall population. 49.36% of the region's population resides in the West Midlands county, 20.17% in Staffordshire, 10.49% in Worcestershire, 9.91% in Warwickshire, 8.56% in Shropshire, and 3.37% in Herefordshire.

Economy[edit]

Business Link West Midlands[20] is based on the Quinton Business Park in Quinton, next to the Highways Agency and the M5 at the A456 junction. NHS West Midlands, the strategic health authority on Hagley Road (A456) in Edgbaston. West Midlands Ambulance Service is on the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill, off the A461, near the headquarters of West Midlands Police. The region's Manufacturing Advisory Service is on Wolverhampton Science Park[21] off the A449 north of the city centre. UKTI for the region[22] is based at West Midlands Chambers of Commerce on Harborne Road (B4284), south of NHS West Midlands. Most of the region is covered by the Midlands Air Ambulance, except Warwickshire is covered by the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, based at Coventry Airport; both are charity-funded.

Herefordshire[edit]

Bulmers cider orchard east of Hereford, near the River Wye

Bulmers Cider is in Hereford. Cadbury UK make milk chocolate near Marlbrook (near Leominster). Weston's Cider is in Much Marcle, south-west of Ledbury at the A449/B4024 junction. Holden Aluminium Technologies are a sports car chassis manufacturer at Linton on the A44, east of Bromyard. Kingspan Insulation is based at Pembridge, next to Shobdon Aerodrome, west of Leominster off the A44.

Shropshire[edit]

The PDSA, Rayburn Range and Aga Rangemaster Group are based in Telford. The MoD have a significant depot at Donnington. There are also high-technology industries such as Unimation, Nikon, Hitachi Maxell, Ricoh, Capgemini, Fujitsu and Electronic Data Systems. In Hadley Castle off the A442, Denso Manufacturing UK Ltd make car air-conditioning systems and GKN Wheels make car wheels. Nearby is Ogihara Europe, a tool making (dies and press) and metal-pressing company. Makita Manufacturing Europe off the A518 at Hortonwood at Telford is the only plant in the UK that makes power tools. Chequer Foods (owned by the Chiswick-based Autobar Group), off the A442 near the A4169 junction in Halesfield to the south, make food sachets for foodservice and for the UK's military ration packs.

Müller Dairy Ltd is based in Market Drayton, and Palethorpes, part of Pork Farms which makes own-label sausages, is on the same site on A53. At Crudgington, Dairy Crest makes Country Life butter and Clover. Anglo Beef Processors (ABP Food Group) are at Harlescott in the north of Shrewsbury. Nearby Stadco, a metal pressings company, are based off the A5124 and next to the railway, on the Battlefield Ind Estate and have a site at Hadley Castle, Telford off the A442. Uniq plc have a plant on the A488 at Minsterley making chilled desserts for Tesco.

Bridgnorth Aluminium (owned by the Greek company Elval) makes aluminium foil (for food preparation) and offset plates for lithography on the A458 at Danesford, south of Bridgnorth. Grainger & Worrall cast aluminium and iron engine blocks off the A454.

Staffordshire[edit]

JCB Dieselmax, holder of the land speed record for diesel-engined vehicles

The brewing companies such as Coors Brewers are in Burton on Trent, as well as Marmite, Marston's Brewery, GNC UK (health supplements), and Doncasters (aerospace components and steel forging, founded by Daniel Doncaster of Sheffield). Conder Structures is a structural steel company next to Marmite on the A5121. Spirit Pub Company (which demerged from Punch Taverns in August 2011, and owns Chef & Brewer, Flaming Grill and Fayre & Square) is near the A5121/A38 junction, with Punch Taverns slightly further north. JCB is based in Staffordshire, near the Alton Towers colossal leisure park. Newell Rubbermaid UK (owner of Parker Pen, Berol, Paper Mate and DYMO) and Zytek (motorsport) are at Fradley Park, next to the A38, on an old airfield. Norgren (part of IMI) is an international pneumatic technology company on the A5192 in Lichfield.

Michelin Tyres are made in Sideway in Stoke-on-Trent, with Royal Doulton and Wedgwood based in Barlaston. Emma Bridgewater make pottery on the A50 in Hanley. Premier Foods make Mr Kipling slices and Cherry Bakewells in Trent Vale in the south of Stoke-on-Trent. Bet365 is on Festival Park in Etruria, off the A53. Dechra Pharmaceuticals make veterinary pharmaceuticals at Talke, off the A34. Churchill China are at Sandyford near Tunstall at the A50/A527 junction. Sumitomo Electrical Wiring Systems (Europe), who supply wiring for the automotive industry, are in Silverdale, not far from Keele University. At Kidsgrove off the A34, Converteam (former GEC) make variable speed drives (VSDs). AWS Electronics have a factory, off the A34 north of Newcastle.

Marmite is made from the yeast left over from the brewing industry

RoadChef are at Norton Canes, near Cannock. TKA Tallent make car suspensions and crossmembers at Cannock. Motivair, who make air compressors, is based off the A5190 in Burntwood. Armitage Shanks is in Rugeley. The UK headquarters of Alstom Grid (former Areva T&D UK, and GEC) is based in Stafford as well as a factory and the UK headquarters of Bostik (a subsidiary of TOTAL). Alstom Power repair electrical generators.

Invotec Group, a PCB manufacturer, is based off the A51 in Dosthill, south of Tamworth. Numark Pharmacy is in Tamworth (former base of Reliant). JVM Castings make crankcases off the A51 at The Leys in Tamworth, and have a site in Worcester. Bristan (owned by Masco) based in Dordon and Baddesley Ensor on the Birch Coppice Business Park south-west of Tamworth, next to a new Ocado distribution centre, is the UK's largest supplier of kitchen and bathroom taps.

Premier Foods make Bird's Custard, Angel Delight and Marvel powdered milk in Knighton, west of Eccleshall near the Shropshire boundary. Static Systems Group (SSG) in Wombourne, south Staffordshire, make most of the nurse call systems for the NHS. Kerrygold have a large cheese production site on the A53 in Leek on the Barnfields Industrial Estate.

Warwickshire[edit]

Bridgestone UK, Telent (near the A46 bypass), Calor (on Tachbrook Park off the A452), Baxi (now owned by BDR Thermea, and on the A429 near Warwick railway station) with Potterton, Volvo Group UK (next to the A46 bypass) and a large data centre of IBM are in Warwick. Dennis Eagle, who make bin wagons, are headquartered off the A452 at Heathcote Ind Estate, in east Warwick towards Leamington. Godiva (former Hale Products Europe, part of the IDEX Corporation) are the UK's leading manufacturer of fire pumps off the A445 in Emscote, east Warwick.

NFU Mutual headquarters at Tiddington, east of Stratford-upon-Avon

Codemasters, Aga Rangemaster Group, and Wolseley UK are in Leamington Spa. On the Warwick Technology Park, south of Warwick on the A425, are ConocoPhillips UK who own JET UK (petrol), McKesson's European HQ (who produce the software for the NHS's 1.4 million employees' payroll - the largest payroll in the UK),[23] National Grid plc, Midcounties Co-operative, the wireless division of Arqiva, Allinea Software, and Tulip (who produce SPAM, with Plumrose and Danepak) in the UK, and are owned by Danish Crown Group - Europe's largest pork producer. Caparo Vehicle Technologies is off the B4087 road towards Leamington Spa.

NFU Mutual is in Tiddington near Stratford and the NFU is in Stoneleigh; AGCO Limited UK is nearby at Stareton, who own Massey Ferguson; the large factory at Coventry closed in 2002. The British Horse Society is in Kenilworth. At Cubbington is the UK headquarters of Joma, and has the Thwaites dumper manufacturer. The University of Warwick, on the Coventry/Warwickshire boundary, is home to the Warwick Manufacturing Group technology consultancy and the Tata Motors European Technical Centre.

In 2008 Daw Mill colliery produced 3.2 million tonnes of coal, a UK record

BMW have their main European four-cylinder engine plant at Hams Hall near the M42. Subaru UK and Isuzu UK (IM Group) are sandwiched between the M6 and the M42 (south of junction 8) at the Coleshill Manor Office Campus, west of Coleshill. ALDI UK is in Atherstone and 3M have an abrasive products (sandpaper) factory. Daw Mill, next to the railway, is Britain's biggest coal producer near the B4098/B4114 junction at Arley and Over Whitacre. Holland & Barrett, the health food chain, Triton Showers (the UK's largest shower company), and Adams Childrenswear are based in Nuneaton. South of Nuneaton, at the A444/B4113 roundabout is the national distribution centre of Dairy Crest, where it also packages Cathedral City cheese. North of Coventry, Oleo International (its name is from the Oleo strut) is a world leader in railway buffers based on the B4113 in Exhall, next to the M6.

Aston Martin and Land Rover have their headquarters in Gaydon. Converteam UK (former Alstom), Morgan Est, and the European HQ of Gap are in Rugby. Alstom have their Power and Transport division in the north of Rugby on the A426, where they service steam turbines; on the Swift Valley Ind Estate Premier Foods have their national distribution centre. Rolls-Royce have a large engine overhaul plant (former Armstrong Siddeley), near Ansty and the M6/M69 junction in Coombe Fields, which also makes their engine casings.

West Midlands county[edit]

Nationally famous companies in the West Midlands include Cadbury's in Bournville, Birmingham. Rover Group Limited in Longbridge, Birmingham (Closed Since 2005)Mitchells and Butlers, the pub chain company, CrossCountry, and National Express are in Birmingham. Small-scale production of MG cars was started again by Nanjing Automobile Group on part of the former MG Rover Group site at Longbridge in 2008. H. Samuel, the jewellers, is in Hockley of the Jewellery Quarter. RoSPA is based in Edgbaston; Dollond & Aitchison and ATS Euromaster are in Aston. Goodyear Tyres and Dunlop Tyres are at Fort Dunlop near Erdington, where the plant manufactured car tyres until 2000, and now manufactures for motorsport. GKN Driveline is the world's leading manufacturer of constant-velocity joints and, although headquartered in Redditch, has its UK plant at the A38/A452 roundabout in Tyburn, north of the JLR plant. Stadco UK have a metal pressings plant at Bromford off the A47. Concentric UK (former part of Haldex) is a manufacturer of oil and water pumps for small diesel engines, off the A38 in Gravelly Hill. VDO make fuel systems nearby off the A38. Alstom used to have a train factory in Washwood Heath, which built Pendolino trains, but closed in 2007. Dana Traction Technologies make axles (including that of the Ford Transit and Range Rover) and limited slip differentials at Witton, off the A4040 near the M6, and TIMET UK. Legrand UK (electrical switches) is based at the A41/A4540 junction at Newtown south of Aston. Eaton Electric (former Delta and MEM) make residual-current devices (Cutler-Hammer) and switchgear off the A41 in Tyseley, and Mereway Kitchens is nearby. Goodrich Engine Controls make engine control systems for jet engines at Hall Green. Webasto Roof Systems is on the A4097 in Minworth, where Hozelock make plastic hose couplings, next to Cadbury's distribution centre.

The Highways Agency have their National Traffic Control Centre in Quinton between the M5 and A456 near junction 3. Ishida Europe makes industrial multihead weighers on the Woodgate Business Park near the M5, and to the west Lander Automotive make pipes for automotive cooling systems.

The leaping jaguar mascot outside the car company's head office south of Coventry

Jaguar Cars, Peugeot UK (head office, on the B4110 next to the railway at Stoke Aldermoor), Jewson (off the B4428 in the east of the city at Binley), and Severn Trent (water) are in Coventry. E.ON UK (former Powergen) and a main office of Thomson Holidays are at Westwood Business Park in Westwood Heath, south-west of the city near Tile Hill. Bladon Jets, in Pinley off the B4110, develop micro gas turbines and were the first to develop an axial flow micro gas turbine in 1994. The Jaguar Land Rover Engineering Centre is just south of Coventry at Whitley on the A444, and Jaguar Land Rover also have a large manufacturing plant at Castle Bromwich Assembly where they make the XJ, XF and XK; this site in Pype Hayes and Tyburn built half of the RAF's Spitfires in the Second World War. The Jaguar Veneer Manufacturing Centre is on the B4067, where the former main factory had been since 1951, on the outskirts of western Coventry. Motaquip, PSA Peugeot Citroën's spares division, is based in Tile Hill off the A45 outer ring road, and UYT produces body in white automotive components at the B4101 junction with the A45 Coventry Business Park, built on the former Triumph car factory. The Skills Funding Agency, Young People's Learning Agency, and National Apprenticeship Service are east of the railway station. AAH Pharmaceuticals and Lloyds Pharmacy are at the Walsgrave Triangle next to the M69/M6 junction off Hinckley Road (A4600), and are both owned by Stuttgart-based Celesio, Europe's largest pharmaceutical wholesaler. Nextdoor, Sainsbury's have the national distribution centre for their TU brand of discount clothing. Magnetto-Topy (former Dunlop, now part of the C.L.N. S.p.A Italian company) make car wheels at Whitmore Park off the B4118 in north Coventry. To the east of the factory, Stadco UK have a design site, and Pailton Engineering make steering columns and steering linkages.

A Land Rover Defender in eastern Africa, made in Solihull

The main Land Rover factory and Halfords Autocentre (in Olton off the A41, until early 2012) are in Solihull. The Forensic Science Service, Linpac, Lafarge Cement UK and IMI plc are on the Birmingham Business Park in Bickenhill, near the airport; the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is just north, between the airport and the M42. Newey and Eyre, Britain's largest electrical wholesaler and part of Rexel UK, is at Sheldon on the A45 near the airport. Goodrich UK is in Shirley. Prologis UK and Enterprise Inns are on the A34 in Monkspath.

Carillion (has the second largest turnover of companies in the East and West Midlands, and the largest in the West Midlands) is on the west of the Wolverhampton ring-road (A4150), Tarmac is on the A4039 south-east of the city centre in Ettingshall, and ADAS is to the north-west on the A41 in Wergs. Marston's is headquartered west of the ring road, on the A41, and have the Park Brewery on the A4124, east of the city centre. BAE Systems Land & Armaments (former Alvis Bridging) is on the A4126 in Ettingshall, near Tarmac, and will close at the end of 2011. In Fordhouses, along the A449 to the north, are HS Marston (part of Hamilton Sundstrand) makes heat exchangers, Goodrich Actuation Systems, and a new engine plant for JLR. Poundland is in Willenhall, on the side of the Black Country Route (A454) towards the M6 junction 11. Wedge Group, based on the B4484 in Willenhall, is the largest hot dip galvanizing company in the UK. Hampson Industries is in Brierley Hill.

Boss Design is a furniture manufacturer in Blowers Green, Dudley at the A461/A459 roundabout. KUKA Robotics UK, a maker of industrial robots, is off the A459 at Mucklow Hill in Halesowen. Hingley Trailers (former M+G Trailers before 2009) makes trailers on the A458 in Lye. Marcegaglia UK make electrical-resistance welded steel tubes off the A461 in Dudley. Servosteel on the A4101 Pensnett Road in west Dudley, is the largest independent steel toll processor in the UK.

Avery Weigh-Tronix is on the site of James Watt's Soho Foundry in Smethwick. Hadley Group near the Soho Foundry is the largest cold roll forming manufacturer in the UK. J. B. & S. Lees makes steel strip at the Trident Steel Works in Albion, West Bromwich off the B4166 and also by Firth Cleveland at the B4517/B4163 junction in Tipton further up the Birmingham Canal. Caparo Precision Tubes between the M5 and A4182 in Oldbury, is the UK's largest producer of electric resistance welded (ERW) steel tubes, and Wellman Group make boilers off the A457 to the west. Metsec, east of Oldbury (owned by Voestalpine), is one of the UK's largest cold roll-forming companies. Conex Bänninger (former IBP Conex), on the B4166 in New Town, west of West Bromwich on Birmingham Canal, make pipe and compression fittings

Homeserve is in the north of Walsall on the A34.

Worcestershire[edit]

see also Manufacturing in Worcester

In Redditch are Halfords, on the B449 to the south in Washford, and GKN (has the second largest turnover in the West Midlands) is on the A441 in Riverside. CompAir Hydrovane, who make rotary vane compressors, are on the Washford Ind Estate near the B4497/A453 junction in Redditch. Mettis Aerospace are on the B4184 in Enfield, north Redditch, and make light metal components.

Roger Dyson Group manufactures auto-recovery vehicles off the A442 in north Droitwich, near Vax and Koito Europe (car headlamps). Lea & Perrins is in Worcester. Joy Mining Machinery are on the A44 in the west of Worcester. Worcester, Bosch Group make 1,200 boilers a day. Mazak UK have the parent company's European manufacturing facility (for CNC machine tools) on the B4639 in the north of Worcester, next to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Sealine make boats at the A442/A451 roundabout in Kidderminster, owned by Brunswick Boat Group. Also In Kidderminster of the A451, Stourport Road. Is Brintons Carpets & Beak bane. The West Midland Safari Park is off the A456 in Bewdley, west of Kidderminster. Morgan Technical Ceramics is headquartered on the B4195 at Lickhill in Stourport-on-Severn, south of Kidderminster. Egbert H. Taylor off the A442 in Elmley Lovett, near Hartlebury is the world's leading manufacturer of metal bins. Leigh Sinton was the home of Biffa Waste Services’ Worcester depot until the closure in July 2013.

Qinetiq at Malvern

Liquid crystal displays were developed in 1972 in conjunction with the Royal Radar Establishment, where Geoffrey Dummer invented the idea of the integrated circuit in 1952. It was based in Malvern, and became the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment, which developed thermal imaging, and is now a large site owned by QinetiQ. Morgan Motor Company is in Malvern Link; nearby is Desire Petroleum. Commsoft RMS is in Evesham.

Education[edit]

Secondary education[edit]

Birmingham (8), Walsall (2), Wolverhampton (1), Warwickshire (6), Stoke-on-Trent (1), and Telford and Wrekin (2) have selective schools. The other counties or metropolitan boroughs do not: being completely comprehensive. Virtually all of the grammar schools are in the top twenty schools for the West Midlands. Competition for these schools can be high, with their excellent records. The top 20 schools at A-level rarely changes from year to year.

There are around 275,000 at secondary schools in the region, the 4th highest in England after South East England, Greater London and North West England. For persistent truancy at secondary schools, Sandwell has the highest rate at 6.9%. The lowest truancy rate for the region is the former district of South Shropshire, and the district of Bromsgrove has the lowest truancy for a current district with 2.3%.

At GCSE, the best performing area in 2010 is Solihull, closely followed by Warwickshire and Shropshire. Dudley, Herefordshire, Telford and Wrekin, Birmingham and Staffordshire (in descending order) are also above the England average. Worcestershire is at the England average. The (consistently) worst performing area is Sandwell, followed by Stoke-on-Trent. Wolverhampton and Walsall also do not perform well, although Wolverhampton improved in 2010. For metropolitan boroughs, Solihull then Dudley perform the best, and Dudley also is the best metropolitan borough at A-level, being much better than Solihull.

At A-level in 2010, the consistently best performing area is Herefordshire. Herefordshire's results are due to most of its A-level candidates going to Hereford's sixth form college. Dudley is also above the England average; the other metropolitan boroughs have low A-level results. Solihull does not perform as well at A-level as it does at GCSE. Shropshire is at the England average.

Tertiary education[edit]

There are thirty-seven FE colleges (FECs).[24] There are six LSCs for the area (which fund FECs), and the Learning and Skills Council head office is based in Coventry. The five largest FE colleges in the region - Bournville College, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, Solihull College, South & City College Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent College - each have more than 25,000 students.

School children in Shropshire and Solihull are most likely to attend university, followed by Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

School league tables[edit]

Below is a list of the top thirty state schools in the West Midlands by 2010 A level results:

Universities[edit]

University of Birmingham
University of Warwick - Medical Teaching Centre
University Students National Ranking (2014)[25]
Coventry University 31,045 58
University of Birmingham 26,073 17
Birmingham City University 23,442 66
University of Warwick 23,420 8
University of Wolverhampton 22,175 -
Staffordshire University 15,190 113
University College Birmingham 13,970 123
Aston University 10,900 27
University of Worcester 10,095 109
Keele University 9,840 45
Harper Adams University 5,365 89
Newman University 3,110 106

The University of Birmingham is the main university in the region[26] and has the most funding. It has a large research grant, as does the University of Warwick, which is the next largest in terms of funding. Birmingham and Warwick are members of the Russell Group of public research universities. Keele and Aston have a moderate research grant, but none of the other universities do. Keele, although having the largest campus in the UK (by area), is one of the smallest universities in the region. There are medical schools are at Warwick, Keele and Birmingham. Birmingham and Warwick receive more than twice as much total income than any other university in the region - around £400 million each.

For students in the region, around 45% are from the region, and 35% from other regions. The other region with the most native students in the region is South East England (good access via the M40 and the West Coast Main Line), but there is a good mix of students from other regions, except the North East (especially) and Yorkshire.

Students native to the West Midlands are most likely to study in the region (40%), then the East Midlands (12%), the North West (11%), and then Yorkshire (9%). Very few go to the East of England or the North East. The region has a net export of university students to other regions.

Once graduated, almost 60% of graduates stay in the region, with 10% going to London, 7% to the South-East, and around 5% to the East Midlands. Very few go to Yorkshire, the North-East, or even (neighbouring) Wales.

Media[edit]

Television[edit]

The West Midlands region of the BBC is based at the Mailbox in Birmingham. From there, the regional programme Midlands Today is produced. ITV Central broadcasts from Birmingham, off Broad Street on Gas Street next to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, with its Central Tonight regional programme.

Radio[edit]

BBC Local Radio[edit]

The West Midlands is served by numerous BBC Local Radio stations, including BBC WM, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Hereford & Worcester and BBC Radio Shropshire.

Commercial Radio[edit]

Commercial radio stations include Free Radio, Capital FM Birmingham, Heart West Midlands, Smooth Radio West Midlands, Planet Rock, Touch FM, Rugby FM, Signal Radio, Signal 107, Sunshine 855 and Sunshine Radio Herefordshire & Monmouthshire.

Community Radio[edit]

Community radio stations include The Bridge 102.5 in Stourbridge, Youthcomm Radio in Worcester, Big City Radio in Birmingham, Radio Plus and Hillz FM in Coventry, WCR FM and Gorgeous Radio in Wolverhampton, Moorlands Radio in Leek, 6 Towns Radio and Cre8 FM in Stoke-on-Trent, The Hitmix in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford FM and Stafford Radio, the UK's only radio station based in a Windmill, in the Broad Eye Windmill, Stafford.

Newspapers[edit]

Local newspapers include the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Express & Star in Wolverhampton, Burton Mail, Shropshire Star, Worcester News, The Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry Evening Telegraph, Nuneaton News and Nuneaton Telegraph

Online[edit]

Channel 4's 4Talent network has a hub in the West Midlands dealing with rising media talent from the region. [27]

Sport[edit]

Football[edit]

Club League City/Town Stadium Capacity
Aston Villa FC Premier League Birmingham Villa Park 42,788
Stoke City FC Premier League Stoke-on-Trent Britannia Stadium 28,384
West Bromwich Albion FC Premier League West Bromwich The Hawthorns 26,500
Birmingham City F.C. Championship Birmingham St Andrew's 30,079
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. Championship Wolverhampton Molineux Stadium 31,700
Coventry City F.C. League One Coventry (temporarily Northampton) Sixfields Stadium 7,653
Port Vale F.C. League One Stoke-on-Trent Vale Park 19,052
Shrewsbury Town F.C. League One Shrewsbury Prostar Stadium 9,875
Walsall F.C. League One Walsall Bescot Stadium 11,300
Burton Albion F.C. League Two Burton-upon-Trent Pirelli Stadium 6,912
A.F.C. Telford United Conference Premier Telford New Bucks Head 6,300
Hereford United F.C. Conference Premier Hereford Edgar Street 5,075
Kidderminster Harriers F.C. Conference Premier Kidderminster Aggborough 6,250
Nuneaton Town F.C. Conference Premier Nuneaton Liberty Way 4,314
Tamworth F.C. Conference Premier Tamworth The Lamb Ground 4,195

References[edit]

  1. ^ In 2001 part of the White Other category. New category created for the 2011 census
  2. ^ In 2001 part of the 'Other' category. New category created for the 2011 census
  1. ^ "Regional Transport Strategy: the National Picture". Government Office for the West Midlands. Retrieved 28 April 2009. 
  2. ^ "The LTP Process". Department for Transport. Retrieved 28 April 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Herefordshire 2006-11 Local Transport Plan". Herefordshire Council. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Shropshire2006-11 Local Transport Plan". Shropshire Council. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "Staffordshire2006-11 Local Transport Plan". Staffordshire County Council. Retrieved 5 May 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Telford and Wrekin 2006-11 Local Transport Plan". Telford and Wrekin Council. Retrieved 5 May 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Warwickshire 2006-11 Local Transport Plan". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  8. ^ "West Midlands 2006-11 Local Transport Plan". West Midlands LTP. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  9. ^ "Worcestershire 2006-11 Local Transport Plan". Worcestershire County Council. Retrieved 5 May 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Stoke-on-Trent 2006-11 Local Transport Plan". Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  11. ^ Office for National Statistics - Key Statistics for Urban Areas Population data
  12. ^ "Black Country Living Museum". Black Country Living Museum. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Iron Bridge". Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  14. ^ BT 1890
  15. ^ BT 1936
  16. ^ LSOA data
  17. ^ Communities and Local Government 2007
  18. ^ Claimant count
  19. ^ County of Hereford forms single local government unit (Unitary Authority)
  20. ^ Business Link
  21. ^ Manufacturing Advisory Service
  22. ^ UKTI
  23. ^ NHS Electronic Staff record
  24. ^ Directory of AoC member Colleges
  25. ^ The Complete University Guide
  26. ^ HEFCE
  27. ^ [1]

External links[edit]