- West Midlands (region)
infobox England region | name = West Midlands| short_name = West Midlands
status = Region
density = 405/km²
euro= West Midlands
population = 5,267,337 (2001)
assembly = West Midlands
election = not directly elected
Advantage West Midlands
url = http://www.wmra.gov.uk
The West Midlands is an official Region of
England, covering the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. It contains the second largest British city, Birmingham, and the larger West Midlands conurbation, which includes the city of Wolverhamptonand large towns of Dudley, Solihull, Walsalland West Bromwich. The city of Coventryis 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
Shropshireand Herefordshirewhich border Wales. The longest river in the UK, the River Severn, traverses the region southeastwards, flowing through the county towns of Shrewsburyand Worcester, and the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Staffordshireis home to the industrialised Potteriesconurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and the Staffordshire Moorlandsarea, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Parknear Leek. The region also encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Warwickshireis home to the town of Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of poet William Shakespeare.
The official region contains the large conurbation that includes
Birminghamand Wolverhampton, but also covers the predominantly rural shire counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshireand Worcestershire.
Unofficially the West Midlands region also spreads as far as
Gloucestershireand Oxfordshire, but these are not part of the official region.
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 Policeand 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
The region contains five
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty(AONBs), including all of the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hillsand Cannock Chase, and parts of the Wye Valleyand Cotswolds. The Peak Districtnational park also stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire.
Numerous notable roads pass through the region, with most converging around the conurbation. The M5, taking traffic from the South West to the North, runs through Worcestershire, past
Worcester, then north through to the West Midlands county, past West Bromwichbefore terminating just south of Walsallat the M6. The M6 enters from the southeast, passing Rugby, Coventryand Birmingham, before continuing north through Staffordshire past Staffordand Stoke-on-Trent. The M6 tollbypasses Birmingham, travelling north of Sutton Coldfieldand Cannockbefore terminating at the M6. The M40 travels southeast past Warwickand Banburyto London. The M42 travels southwest past Tamworth, Castle Bromwichand Solihullbefore ending on the M40. The M50 travels west from the M5 to Ross-on-Wye. The M54 travels east from Wellington, past Telford, before ending on the M6 near Cannock. The A5 roadtraverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Cannock, Tamworthand Nuneaton.
Towns and cities
city status."Major towns and cities in the West Midlands region include [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=8271&Pos=2&ColRank=1&Rank=224 Office for National Statistics - Key Statistics for Urban Areas Population data] ] :
Population > 750,000
Birmingham, WMSPopulation > 250,000
Wolverhampton, WMSPopulation > 100,000
West Bromwich, WMS
Sutton Coldfield, WMSPopulation > 70,000
Worcester, WORPopulation > 50,000
* Rugby, WAR
Stourbridge, WMSOther Notable
Leamington Spa, WAR
* Leek, STS
The official representative body of the region is the
West Midlands Regional Assemblywhich has limited administrative functions such as regional planning and economic development. The assembly is not an elected body, but is made up of members appointed from local councils across the region, and members from regional interest groups such as business and environmental groups and trade unions, known as a quango. It is based on "Edward Street" in Birmingham, near the National Indoor Arena.
The official region consists of the following subdivisions:
shire county= † | metropolitan county= *
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.
West Midlands conurbation
Coal mining used to be the main industry of the Black Country. Nationally famous companies in the West Midlands include Cadbury's in
Bournville, Birmingham. Mitchells and Butlers, the pub chaincompany, CrossCountry, and National Expressare in Birmingham. MG Rover Groupwas sold in 2005 and most of the plant was knocked down but small production of cars began on the site by Nanjing Automobile Group in 2008. The former Rover Companyhad begun from the inventor of the modern-day bicycle in Coventry. H. Samuel, the jewellers, is in Hockley of the Jewellery Quarter. RoSPA is based in Edgbaston, Dollond & Aitchisonare in Aston, Goodyear Tyres and Dunlop Tyresare in Erdington, and Severn Trent(water) in Sheldon. AGA Consumer Products Ltd is in Shirley. Daihatsu UK is in West Bromwich. E.ON UK(former Powergen), Jaguar Carsand Volvo Cars UK, Peugeot UK (head office), Jewson, and Thomson Holidaysare in Coventry. Land Roverand Enterprise Innsare in Solihull. Carillion plcand Tarmac are in Wolverhampton, with Poundlandin Willenhall.
The brewing companies such as Coors Brewers are in Burton on Trent, as well as
Marmite, Marston's, and Punch Taverns. JCB is based in Staffordshire. MichelinTyres are made in Sidewayin Stoke-on-Trent. RoadChefare at Norton Canes, near Cannock. Armitage Shanksis in Rugeley.
ConocoPhillips UK, JET (petrol), and Volvo Group UK are in
Warwick. BMWhave their main European four-cylinder engine plant at Hams Hallnear the M42. Codemastersis in Leamington Spa. ALDI UK is in Atherstone, Holland & Barrett, the health food chain, is based in Nuneaton. Aston Martinis at Gaydon. Morgan Estis in Rugby. NFU Mutualis in Tiddingtonnear Stratford. The British Horse Societyis in Kenilworth. Bulmers Cider is in Hereford. Halfordsand GKNare in Redditch. Lea & Perrinsis in Worcester. Müller Dairy Ltd is based in Market Drayton, Shropshire.
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. At
GCSE, the best performing area is Solihull, followed closely by Shropshire. Herefordshire is also above the England average. The worst performing area is Sandwell, followed by Stoke-on-Trent. Wolverhampton and Walsall also do not perform well. For a metropolitan borough, Dudley performs higher than many in Birmingham. At A level, the best performing area is Herefordshire, followed by Shropshire. All the other areas of the West Midlands perform under the UK average. Solihull does not perform as well at A level as it does at GCSE.
chool league tables
Below is a list of the top twenty state schools in the West Midlands by 2007 A level results:
* 1. King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys,
King Edward VI Handsworth
* 3. King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, Kings Heath
King Edward VI School Stratford-upon-Avon
Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls
Wolverhampton Girls' High School
King Edward VI Five Ways, Bartley Green
Queen Mary's Grammar School, Walsall
Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls
Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield
King Edward VI College, Stourbridge
Adams' Grammar School, Newport, Shropshire
King Edward VI Aston
Thomas Telford School, Telford
Hereford Sixth Form College
Newport Girls' High School
Queen Mary's High School, Walsall
St. Joseph's College, Stoke-on-Trent
Blessed William Howard Catholic School, Stafford
Rugby High School for Girls(929)
There are nine
universitiesin the region:
Aston University, 8,915 students
Coventry University, 19,495 students
Keele University, 12,720 students
Staffordshire University, 15,200 students
Birmingham City University, 25,010 students
University of Warwick, Coventry30,380 students
University of Birmingham, 30,725 students
University of Wolverhampton, 24,020 students
University of Worcester, 7,655 students
There are also three
Harper Adams University College, 2,200 students
Newman University College, 2,600 students
University College Birmingham, 13,970 students
* The West Midlands region of the
BBCis based at the Mailbox in Birmingham. From there, the regional programme Midlands Todayis produced. ITV Central broadcasts from Birmingham, with its Central Tonightregional programme.
* BBC Radios WM, Coventry & Warwickshire, Stoke, Hereford & Worcester and Shropshire.
* Commercial radio stations:
BRMB, Beacon Radioin Wolverhampton, Mercia FMin Coventry, Touch FM (Burton, Lichfield and Tamworth)in Tamworth, Touch FM (Coventry), Touch FM (Stratford-upon-Avon), Kerrang! 105.2in Birmingham, Galaxy Birmingham, Smooth Radio 105.7in Birmingham, 107.1 Rugby FM, The Severn (north Shropshire), 107.2 The Wyre in Kidderminster, 107.7 The Wolfin Wolverhampton, Wyvern FMin Worcester, 100.7 Heart FMin Birmingham, and Signal 1from Stoke.
* Newspapers - the
Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Express & Starin Wolverhampton, Burton Mail, Shropshire Star, Worcester News, The Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent and Coventry Evening Telegraph.
* Websites - Channel 4's 4Talent network has a hub in the West Midlands dealing with rising media talent from the region: [http://www.channel4.com/4talent/midlands/]
* [http://www.advantagewm.co.uk/ Advantage West Midlands - Regional Development Agency]
* [http://www.go-wm.gov.uk Government Office for the West Midlands]
* [http://www.wmra.gov.uk West Midlands Regional Assembly]
* [http://www.direct.gov.uk/Dl1/Directories/LocalCouncils/LocalGovernmentByRegion/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4003650&chk=J1Wt8n Government's list of councils in the West Midlands]
* [http://www.mlawestmidlands.org.uk/ MLA West Midlands - Museums, Libraries and Archives Regional Agency]
* [http://www.westmidlands.nhs.uk NHS West Midlands - The regional Strategic Health Authority for the West Midlands]
* [http://www.westmidlandsno.org.uk West Midlands NO! - campaign against regional government in the West Midlands]
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