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Today Birmingham is a vibrant, interesting city, full of bars, museums, restaurants and canals. However, Birmingham hasn't always been the metropolis we see today. In the 6th century, Birmingham was an Anglo-Saxon farming hamlet. The first recorded written reference to Birmingham is believed to be in the Doomsday Book of 1086, where it was described as a small village, worth only 20 shillings.
In 1166 the holder of the manor of Birmingham, Peter de Birmingham, was granted a royal charter to hold a market in his castle, which in time became known as the Bull Ring. Today the Bull Ring is one of the busiest shopping centres in the country.
Birmingham's reputation was forged as a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution in England, which led to the city being known as "the workshop of the world" or the "city of a thousand trades". Birmingham was granted city status in 1889 by Queen Victoria.
From the late 19th Century, Birmingham and the Midlands became known for its motor industry, with famous British manufactures such as Dunlop, Morris, Triumph, Rover, Jaguar and Land Rover all having plants in the city. Today Birmingham's economy is mostly based on the service sector and the city is home to a number of large financial institutions.
Over the years, Birmingham has attracted people from all over the world making it a multicultural city as famous for its curries as it is for its industrial past. Birmingham's claim to the balti is not its only culinary export: Cadbury's chocolate has been made in the city since the 1880s when George Cadbury opened his first factory here. The city has taken advantage of its claim to having more canals than Venice with the redevelopment of the Royal Mail sorting office into an upmarket canal side hotel and restaurant complex.
With the canal redevelopment Birmingham has become a vibrant city and a fantastic place to live and do business.