It is the largest and most populous British city outside London, with a population of 1,101,360 in 2014.
A medium-sized market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew to international prominence in the 18th century at the heart of the Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide advances in science, technology, and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society.
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Its resulting high level of social mobility also fostered a culture of broad-based political radicalism, that under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, and a pivotal role in the development of British democracy.
From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed heavily by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz.
Teachers at St Clare’s School in Handsworth asked the girl’s parents to respect their strict uniform policy, which does not allow for headwear or scarfs, the Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council’s Labour cabinet member for equalities, said he had met with the school’s head teacher and told her the ban was in violation of the equalities act.
He said: “I'm insisting this matter is addressed [as soon as possible] with a change of policy.” However, his colleague Majid Mahmood said that since it is a faith school, St Clare's is “maybe within its rights to insist upon a particular dress code,” just as a Muslim faith school “may require girls to wear headscarves”.A general sketch of these latter has been already given in the account of the medieval confraternities of prayer (see P URGATORIAL S OCIETIES ). Confraternities and sodalities, in the present meaning of the word, the only ones which will be here mentioned, had their beginnings after the rise of the confraternities of prayer in the early Middle Ages, and developed rapidly from the end of the twelfth century, i.e. Proofs of this are to be found in the Bullaria and annals of these orders, as those of the Dominicans, the Carmelites, and the Servites. Armellini, "Le chiese di Roma" (2nd ed., Rome, 1891), 20 sqq.; "Historisch-politische Blätter", cxlviii (Munich, 1911), 759 sqq., 823 sqq.; Ebner, "Die acht Brüderschaften des hl. Wolfgang" (Ratisbon, 1894), 182 sq.; Villanueva, "Viage literario a las Iglesias de España", VIII (Valencia, 1821), 258 sqq., Apéndice IV; Gallia Christ., XI, instr. Of the sodalities which came into existence just at this period, particular mention should be made of those called the Sodalities of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( congregationes seu sodalitates B. The main object and duty of these societies were, above all, the practice of piety and works of charity.Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and highly skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided a diverse and resilient economic base for industrial prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century.Perhaps the most important invention in British history, the industrial steam engine, was invented in Birmingham.Birmingham's major cultural institutions – including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations, Birmingham's sporting heritage can be felt worldwide, with the concept of the Football League and tennis both originating from the city.