From lawn tennis, heavy metal music and automated traffic lights to inventing the pacemaker and microwave, the West Midlands has made its mark globally.

A collection of 50 facts have been released to showcase the West Midlands’ crucial contribution to the world. The facts set out an interesting story of invention, with many household items that can be traced back to their West Midlands roots.

The simple process of making the perfect cup of tea can be traced back to the West Midlands. The electric kettle; the Typhoo teabag; and the difficult choice between Cadbury chocolate or a Coventry Godcake with Bird’s custard were all created in the region. The West Midlands also started the ketchup vs. brown sauce debate in 1899 after HP Sauce was invented, a debate which continues to this day.

The region is the birthplace of both lawn tennis and rugby. It now plays host to big sporting events, with the Cricket World Cup, European City of Sport 2019, Nature Valley Classic and European football all being hosted locally in 2019.

From the birthplace of heavy metal and the ranking beats of 2-Tone, the region’s arts scene has created new music genres. Epic worlds and stories created by J.R.R. Tolkien and William Shakespeare sit on bookshelves alongside crime fiction enjoyed by millions around the world.   

Today, the West Midlands’ cultural scene has been immortalised through its art exhibitions and blockbuster films. Tolkien’s biopic film, Home of Metal exhibition and 2-Tone’s 40th anniversary all happen this year.

Neil Rami, CEO of the West Midlands Growth Company, which aims to attract visitors to the region, said:

“The West Midlands is one of the most innovative and dynamic areas in the world. These facts combine our proud industrial heritage – when our brightest minds came up with inventions that changed the world for the better – with a new age of doers and achievers.

“We have a range of exciting events taking place this year that celebrate the region’s success in music, culture and sport. The West Midlands is well known for its warm welcome, and visitors will be blown away by what we have to offer.”

The facts are available online at Make it WM, a new website that celebrates what the region has to offer visitors. You can also follow or join in the conversation on social media using #50WaysWM – and maybe suggest some other facts that should have made the top 50.

Penny Allen, Head of Sales and Marketing at West Midlands Trains, which operates the London Northwestern Railway brand, added:

“Fans of art, music and heritage can use our services to enjoy the diverse experiences that can only be found in the West Midlands. We are committed to supporting culture lovers to travel easily and in comfort to even more destinations across our network.

“With earlier and later trains now operating on many routes, and more capacity on many of our services, there has never been a better time to leave the car at home.”

The region’s history of creating, making and innovation is on show at many unique attractions. Visitors can experience the birthplace of Shakespeare at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, or the Shakespeare Memorial Room at the Library of Birmingham. Tourists also learn about the creation of rugby at the World Rugby Hall of Fame. The West Midlands’ strong manufacturing heritage is celebrated at the Coventry Transport Museum, the Black Country Living Museum or the Jaguar Land Rover Experience.

To access the 50 facts, please click here.




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