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.