Going Underground: Birmingham

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Beneath the surface of the country’s second largest city lies a little-known world that encompasses the history of Birmingham. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Birmingham profited from its position in the heart of the Midlands as the centre of science, technology, industrial development and culture for the area, growing rapidly to become the most important manufacturing city in the country. Although much of the city has changed over the last two centuries, not least through the aerial bombing raids during the Second World War and post-war redevelopment, the industrial heritage of Birmingham remains an important part of the city. Going Underground: Birmingham takes the reader on a tour of subterranean Birmingham. The stories include the bizarre and sometimes nefarious world beneath the surface of the city. We visit the tunnels built for an underground railway only ever used as air-raid shelters, catacombs, closed railway tunnels, a former feeder canal used to bring goods from warehouses, a culvert containing Birmingham’s only river, the old passage to New Street station (said to have been cut through the site of a former Jewish cemetery and once used to store bodies awaiting transportation), a tunnel between a former police station and the law courts walked by many from the city’s criminal past, hidden passages created during Birmingham’s growth period in the Georgian and Victorian ages, and much more. This fascinating portrait of underground Birmingham will interest all those who know the city.