There are countless examples of Birmingham’s sons and daughters transforming the way we experience the world. From trailblazing artists to pioneers of industry, Birmingham has been the centre of many of the world’s greatest innovations.
Few cities can rival Birmingham when it comes to the sheer number of world-changing innovations that have come out of the city. From the world’s first steam engine to the first ever kidney transplant, Birmingham has a long history of being at the forefront of major scientific and technological breakthroughs.
Today, Birmingham is still at the forefront of innovation, with cutting-edge research being conducted at the city’s world-renowned universities. So it’s no surprise that Birmingham is often referred to as the ‘city of invention’.
But could Brummies today even recognise the names of those behind these innovations? And who do they currently hold up as the most iconic Brummies in history? We hit the streets to find out. Feel free to let us know who you’re local icon is too.
Harvey says: “My history on Birmingham isn’t fantastic. Very difficult one to answer! I’ll have to go with Peaky Blinders - my favourite show. So at the moment it will be Mr. Selby at the top! Whether he’s a trailblazer? I doubt it. But has he… did he… I mean… it’s a great programme to watch because it proved what can be done within the West Midlands.
“How prominent we are - where we’re located, how we can spread our wings, let alone northeast, but across the pond to the States. So opportunities have always existed in Birmingham. It’s about putting your finger on it, finding the right one and making that grow really. But unfortunately, no Trailblazers from my end mate, I’ve not really looked into it that much.”
Lyla says: “Ozzy Osbourne! Really, that’s the only one I can think of. Ozzy Osbourne, yeah! Can you think of anybody else? No, nobody else from Birmingham. He’s a proper Brummy!”
Brian says: “Neville Chamberlain, I think. Because Neville Chamberlain was the bloke that started to put us on a path of the Corporation doing major works, when they demolished the old buildings on Corporation Street and built Corporation Street to what we have today.
“Corporation Street has had many many changes but Neville Chamberlain was the start of those changes for the city. And I think he put the city on a good footing and I think he belonged to the wrong party. While people in Birmingham may struggle to think of iconic Brummies throughout history, here is a list of seven famous Brummies who are still around today.”
Here’s a few details of those inspiring locals, and a few more:
1. Ozzy Osbourne
The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne was born and raised in Aston. He first found fame as the lead singer of Black Sabbath, and has since gone on to enjoy a hugely successful solo career. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest rock stars of all time, and is a true icon of Birmingham.
2. Julie Walters
One of the most successful actresses of her generation, Julie Walters was born and raised in Erdington. She first found fame in Educating Rita and has since gone on to star in many iconic films and TV shows, including Billy Elliot, Calendar Girls and Harry Potter. She’s a much-loved figure in Birmingham and beyond, and is a true national treasure.
3. Jasper Carrott
A true icon of Birmingham comedy, Jasper Carrott was born in Stourbridge and rose to fame in the 1970s with his hit TV show The Golden Age of Carrott. He’s since become a household name, thanks to his appearances on shows like Have I Got News For You and Mock the Week. He’s also a passionate Birmingham City FC fan, and has written a number of books about the club.
4. Frank Skinner
Another hugely successful comedian from Birmingham, Frank Skinner was born in West Bromwich. He first found fame on The Frank Skinner Show in the early 1990s, and has since gone on to enjoy a hugely successful career in comedy, writing and television presenting.
5. Lenny Henry
One of the most successful comedians of all time, Lenny Henry was born in Dudley. He first found fame on the sketch show The Black and White Minstrel Show, before going on to enjoy a hugely successful career in stand-up, television and film. He’s a passionate campaigner for racial equality, and has been a huge supporter of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
6. Beverley Knight
A true icon of the Birmingham music scene, Beverley Knight was born in Wolverhampton. She first found fame with her debut album The B-Funk in 1995, and has since gone on to enjoy a hugely successful career as a singer, songwriter and actress. She’s a passionate supporter of the Birmingham music scene, and has set up a number of initiatives to help up-and-coming local talent.
7. Adrian Chiles
A well-known face on British television, Adrian Chiles was born in Quinton. He first found fame as the host of The One Show, and has since gone on to present a number of other popular shows, including Match of the Day and Question Time. He’s a big fan of West Bromwich Albion FC, and is a regular contributor to the club’s official podcast.
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