Nestled in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom, Birmingham is the birthplace of Cadbury’s, the photocopier, and the X-ray scanner. Brummies built spitfires for World War II (you’re welcome, world), had their name copied 30 times across the world (including a crater on the moon), and are even the inspiration behind the Shire, home of Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit.
But we are also at the butt-end of many jokes which can get quite tedious.
So, here’s a list of all the things that only people from Birmingham understand:
1. The hate for our accent
The Birmingham, or ‘Brummie’, accent is accused of being the WORST accent in the country.
As Brummies, we don’t really hear it so the jokes are on the fools who hate it! There are so many different accents in the city that there is no telling which one they are referring to. Actress Felicity Jones, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and presenter Cat Deeley are all from Birmingham – all three have completely different accents, so which one is it?
2. The Bull
The Guardian – a bronze bull sculpture in our city center – is the symbol of everything Birmingham and, honestly, we don’t know why but we’ve just gone with it.
We love our Bull, in all his crazy, seasonal, and cultural outfits. It is a landmark and the most obvious meet-up point. He is a part of us but we don’t like the outsiders that climb all over him when it specifically says DO NOT CLIMB THE BULL. Leave him alone and get your own!
3. Only people from Birmingham can call it ‘Brum’
It’s the rules.
Don’t fight us on this. Only Brummies can call the city Brum. It is our term of endearment for our beloved city. Outsiders are not permitted to use it. We don’t care.
4. Having a Goth phase when first entering the Oasis Market
It was absolutely going to happen.
You couldn’t fight it no matter how hard you tried. Once you entered the Oasis Market in the city center you would 100 percent leave as a Goth. It was part of the deal whether you liked it or not. Body piercings, tattoos, alternative fashions, and decor – it was a whole new world for angsty teenagers.
5. And then gathering at Pigeon Park
Pigeon Park was literally the courtyard of St. Phillip’s Church in the heart of the business district. Pigeon Park became the teenager hangout where we would make the business professionals in their suits and briefcases yearn for the life they once had.
6. The annual Christmas German Market
While it is the biggest authentic German Market outside of Germany and Austria, Brummies get pretty annoyed.
Too many people gathering in the city center in the lead up to Christmas is the last thing we want when things are already busy. But let’s be real – while we all groan and roll our eyes, we also know it means Christmas is coming and spirits are lifted.
7. Being proud that our landscape was the inspiration for Middle Earth
Who would’ve guessed the world of Middle Earth was based off of Birmingham? More specifically the nature spots of Sarehole Mill and the Moseley Bog – both of which hold annual Middle Earth festivals and host Tolkien Trails – in which fans of Lord of the Rings walk the paths to view the landscapes that inspired Middle Earth. The Perrott’s Folly and the University of Birmingham Clock Tower were inspirations of the Two Towers as well – all in good old Brum!
7. But also having to constantly listen to the Venice-Birmingham canals comparison
We get it! We have more canals than Venice! We are a larger city so it makes sense, but we are much more than that and definitely much better than having to just be associated with it so get over it!
8. Most of us have never been to Cadbury World
Outsiders always tell us how amazing Cadbury World is. Seeing the chocolate being made, buying it relatively cheap, and learning about the history and the start of the Cadbury company – but most Brummies haven’t been. Yes, we are ashamed and do hang our heads in disappointment at ourselves.
9. The North/South divide
We never understood what this was all about. Birmingham is in the Midlands i.e. the middle of the country, so why do the Northerners call us Southerners and visa-versa? We’ve always called ourselves ‘Midlanders’, so what is up with this slander in shredding us verbally and then pushing us to the other side? We don’t want to be a part of the North or South – we’re too good for either anyway.
10. “I’m from Birmingham too!”
11. Public transport is a nightmare
New Street Station (our largest train station) is too large for it’s own good and difficult to navigate and the number 50 bus service is the best and worst bus service. Highly doubt that there is any other city whose commuters have to wait 50 minutes for a bus and then have three turn up at the same time or have buses just randomly disappear off the live timetable feed.
12. We are beautiful!
We appreciate our vast range of architecture. Wooden Tudor houses such as Blakesley Hall, Jacobean manors like Aston Hall, our Town and Symphony Hall looking like the Pantheon and the classical-style of the Council House. But we also have some of the most beautiful country parks – Lickey Hills, Shire Country Park and Sutton Park – the views are incredible.
13. Criminal misconceptions
No, we are not all gang members, nor do we ever wish we were (but we sure as hell will milk the tourism and attention Birmingham gets for it). And yes, the controversial Benefits Street was also set in Birmingham, but we’re not a crime-ridden, lazy-bum hell hole either. We’re super friendly and really awesome.
14. We are not stupid…
This goes back to the accent thing. You might think our accent is stupid, but when you tell us things about our city like you’re the expert, you’re the only person that looks like an idiot.
We have six universities, making us the largest UK center for higher education outside of London. We were also at the center of the Midlands Enlightenment during the second half of the eighteenth century and the home of the original Lunar Society where prominent industrialists, philosophers and intellectuals met regularly.
15. The “ramp”
To be a true Brummie is to know what and where the “ramp” is.
It takes you from New Street to the Grand Central shopping center and is always crowded with people walking on the wrong side, and queues for the ever-famous McDonald’s going out the door. But, it is also a pivotal meeting point. If you don’t know where or what the “ramp” is, you’re screwed.
16. It’s “Town”. Not the “City Center”
Don’t question us. It just is. Get over it.
These are not some exclusive country clubs where the posh-trotters from the Little Aston neighborhood come to play tennis and humbly brag. Nor are they some exotic restaurants with foods and drinks from the Far East and Polynesia. No. Islands are literally roundabouts.
Every roundabout is an island – it’s just the way it is and we don’t know why.
18. We take St. Patrick’s Day VERY seriously
Which is really weird because we are in England and England’s patron saint is St. George and while there are celebrations for St. George across the city, why we go overboard for St. Patrick’s Day still baffles some of us.
19. The weather
It’s British courtesy to start a conversation about the weather.
It’s just who we are – but Birmingham weather is beyond weird. It can snow everywhere in the country and yet will never come to us. There can be sunny spells everywhere but we’ll be in the middle of a storm. It’s like we’re not even in the same country!
20. WE are the second city!
War has been ongoing between Manchester and Birmingham over who takes the trophy for Second City. Manchester claims it belongs to them but when government ministers themselves declared Birmingham as the Second City, you know you’ve won.
Sorry Manchester, but you just have to stay in your lane. This is ours!
21. It’s home
As Brummies, we criticize everything about our city (because we’re still English and English people love to complain) but only we are allowed to do that. If outsiders even dare, all hell will break loose. We will defend our home because to be a Brummie is an honor and something to be proud of.