Project Officer
Outward Looking Partnerships - Future Council Programme

What Birmingham means to me

We’re looking to publish your stories of what Birmingham means to you on this blog, how has it’s shaped your life and developed into what it is today. First up is Mumbai-born David Andrew,  a proud resident of the city for over 30 years.

In 1966 my late father of a short stature from a Bangladeshi, Muslim background came to Birmingham on a ship from Bombay, India without a proper passport (with a temporary travel ID issued by the Indian government and that’s another story…) He was travelling as a Christian missionary evangelist which took him all over England.

For 10 years, he journeyed on that temporary travel document to different countries in the world, of course with all its challenges. Eventually, he was issued with an official Indian passport  . Overall, my dad travelled over 70 countries preaching the gospel. He was a man of faith and determination. Sometimes people called him ‘little giant’. He made several trips to Birmingham but never lived here.

In 1985 I came here as a student to Birmingham Bible Institute which used to be on Pakenham Road in Edgbaston (I was following in my dad’s footsteps) and now I have lived here for 30 years.  What happened to my training is another story…

This is more about ‘Birmingham & Me’ though. I have seen this city change radically over the last 30 years. I still visualize the old Bull Ring market, the C&A store on Corporation Street, the old New Street Station. I still remember the 1985 Handsworth riots!

Birmingham has moved from strength to strength, and I am sure it will continue to do so, by becoming the finest and cleanest city in the country and an attraction in Europe.

The development of new buildings, hotels,  five Michelin star restaurants, sporting venues, modern luxury apartments and penthouses, the beautiful new Birmingham Library which I absolutely adore, Brindley Place, The Custard Factory, The Millennium Point, re-development of Eastside and plans for the new HS2 train station.

The new Bull Ring, Grand Central above the railway station, and my favourite store John Lewis. There was a department store called Lewis’s 30 years ago on Bull Street. http://birminghamhistory.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=36253 . The historic Jewellery Quarter, the current redevelopment of Paradise Circus, not forgetting new businesses being developed and foreign investments especially from Chinese businessmen creating opportunities for employment. Excellent universities attracting students from all across the globe to study.

I can go on and on…

This is a city that I am proud to live in and invite my friends from China, India, USA, Sweden, Columbia and Italy to Birmingham.

I also believe there’s a lot that we can do to enhance and beautify this city. I would love to see Birmingham clean, litter and graffiti free.

People respecting diversity, accepting each other, integrating with and embracing the British culture, abiding by the law of land, protecting the young and vulnerable, upholding the value of this city, and being a proud citizens of Birmingham. 

What does Birmingham mean to you? Why not tell us your story now and you may be featured on our blog.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nivesh Andrew

    Dear David Andrew,
    You’ve brilliantly painted a picture that depicted exactly what I remember city of Birmingham, back in the days. I’ve been traveling to city of B’ham since 1991. On Oct 23rd 2015 it’ll be exactly 25 years, which was on a sunday when I disembarked into this quaint city. For in those days on a Sunday pretty much all the businesses remained closed, so it was very quiet on the roads.

    In my recent visit to B’ham with my 16 year old daughter, which was in April of this year, it was hard to believe how the city has changed in leaps and bounds and from this once an industrial hub of England and now has turned into a trendy 21st century metropolitan city. I have seen a new facelift to the Bullring, which has turned to a fantastic shoppers paradise. However seeing some of the old little shops gone is little sad. As they had the charm of their own.

    My prespective from a resident of Charlotte, NC USA. I find city of Birmingham has really gelled themselves, old with the new. Still trying to preserve the old and yet making strides in being modern and one of the best cities in the UK to visit. I hope this trend continues, so the new generation can still cherish the history of where B’ham use to be and where it is now. All in all, bringing full satisfication to every citizen and a visitor of Birmingham in experiencing the harmony of multiculture; as they enjoy the delicacey of what this city has to offer for every palate. I know my daughter and I are in love with the city, hope everyone else who visit’s will take a piece of B’ham in their heart’s, as we have.

    1. David Andrew

      Thank you Nivesh Andrew, I am glad this blog evoked memories of your visit to Birmingham since 1991.

      Your affinity with Birmingham and the experience you had on several visits further confirms that Birmingham is an exciting and friendly place to visit. It is a hub connecting to other parts of the UK.

      Birmingham has “everything” a visitor needs to experience. Furthermore, economically, very affordable compared to London.

      You and your family are always welcome to Birmingham.

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