Shopping in Birmingham
The recent revamp of Birmingham’s famous Bullring Centre, has re-established that area as the heart of the city, as it became in the early twelfth century under the lordship of Peter de Birmingham. Nowadays Birmingham has some great shopping and is rapidly becoming a favourite shopping haunt for people in the West Midlands. Recent studies tend to suggest that the city is even over taking London as Britain’s style capital because women from Birmingham spend more on fashionable clothing than anywhere else in the UK.
Birmingham has changed rapidly over the past ten or twenty years when the city was still dominated by the concrete monstrosity that the Bullring centre had become. The remodelled city centre now has some of the best shopping around with covered shopping arcades and a large, pedestrianised shopping area. Leading department stores have now made their home in Birmingham, which is the first city to have a branch of Selfridges outside of London. Birmingham Selfridges is more like a huge bazaar towering over the edge of the Bullring and over some of the older, inner city areas.
It is not just the Bullring centre that has been given a completely new look, there is a brand new Matchbox centre and the old markets and the jewellery quarter have also been revitalised. The reason that the Bullring has featured so prominently in Derby, is because it is where the town really began, later deemed a city by Queen Victoria towards the end of the nineteenth century. The Bullring area got its name because of the bull baiting that used to occur there back in the sixteenth century. Birmingham is virtually unrecognizable as the concrete monstrosity it became during the post war rebuild of the nineteen fifties and sixties.
The new Bullring cost five million pounds to rebuild and holds well over a hundred cafes and shops in two adjacent, glass covered malls. The commercial centre of Birmingham has been given new life; it is light, airy and busy and contains enough shops to satisfy even the most dedicated shopper. Unlike other rebuilt city centres, the area has great train and bus links and more than 3,000 parking spaces.
The dusty old New Street has also been given a new look with a pedestrianised shopping area and tree graced avenues. Birmingham’s famed arcades that date back to the Victorian era now contain independent fashion boutiques, jewellers and top of the range chocolate shops.
More than a quarter of Birmingham’s population come from various ethnic backgrounds and this mix of culture and style is reflected in the city’s lively, markets. Markets have been a huge feature in Birmingham’s life and history, a feature that dates back to the charter granted to Peter de Birmingham in the twelfth century. Today, besides the Bullring centre, there are three distinct Bullring markets, the indoor market that sells everything from fish to footballs, the open market dealing in fruit, vegetables, clothing and knick knacks and one of the oldest of Birmingham’s markets, the rag market that deals in clothing, textiles and craft materials. Birmingham shopping is hard to beat for its sheer volume and range of choice.