West Midlands (region)

West Midlands (region)

infobox England region | name = West Midlands| short_name = West Midlands
hq = Birmingham
imagename =

status = Region
area_km2= 13,004
area_mi2= 5,020
area_rank= 7th
density = 405/km²
nuts= UKG
euro= West Midlands
population = 5,267,337 (2001)
population_rank= 5th
gdp_rank= 5th
gdp= 15,257
assembly = West Midlands
election = not directly elected
development_agency = Advantage West Midlands
url = http://www.wmra.gov.uk
The West Midlands is an official Region of England, covering the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. It contains the second largest British city, Birmingham, and the larger West Midlands conurbation, which includes the city of Wolverhampton and large towns of Dudley, Solihull, Walsall and West Bromwich. The city of Coventry is also located within the West Midlands county, but is separated from the conurbation to the west by several miles of green belt.

The region is geographically diverse, from the urban central areas of the conurbation to the rural western counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire which border Wales. The longest river in the UK, the River Severn, traverses the region southeastwards, flowing through the county towns of Shrewsbury and Worcester, and the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Staffordshire is home to the industrialised Potteries conurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and the Staffordshire Moorlands area, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Park near Leek. The region also encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Warwickshire is home to the town of Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of poet William Shakespeare.


The official region contains the large conurbation that includes Birmingham and Wolverhampton, but also covers the predominantly rural shire counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Unofficially the West Midlands region also spreads as far as Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, but these are not part of the official region.

There is some confusion in the use of the term "West Midlands", as the name is also used for the much smaller West Midlands county, and is still used by various organisations within that area such as West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service.

The highest point in the region is Black Mountain, at 703 metres / 2,307 ft in west Herefordshire on the border with Powys, Wales.

The region contains five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), including all of the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Cannock Chase, and parts of the Wye Valley and Cotswolds. The Peak District national park also stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire.


Numerous notable roads pass through the region, with most converging around the conurbation. The M5, taking traffic from the South West to the North, runs through Worcestershire, past Worcester, then north through to the West Midlands county, past West Bromwich before terminating just south of Walsall at the M6. The M6 enters from the southeast, passing Rugby, Coventry and Birmingham, before continuing north through Staffordshire past Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent. The M6 toll bypasses Birmingham, travelling north of Sutton Coldfield and Cannock before terminating at the M6. The M40 travels southeast past Warwick and Banbury to London. The M42 travels southwest past Tamworth, Castle Bromwich and Solihull before ending on the M40. The M50 travels west from the M5 to Ross-on-Wye. The M54 travels east from Wellington, past Telford, before ending on the M6 near Cannock. The A5 road traverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Cannock, Tamworth and Nuneaton.

Towns and cities

:"Bold indicates city status."Major towns and cities in the West Midlands region include [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=8271&Pos=2&ColRank=1&Rank=224 Office for National Statistics - Key Statistics for Urban Areas Population data] ] :

Population > 750,000
* Birmingham, WMSPopulation > 250,000
* Coventry, WMS
* Stoke-on-Trent, STS
* Wolverhampton, WMSPopulation > 100,000
* Dudley, WMS
* Walsall, WMS
* Telford, SHR
* West Bromwich, WMS
* Sutton Coldfield, WMSPopulation > 70,000
* Newcastle-under-Lyme, STS
* Nuneaton, WAR
* Redditch, WOR
* Shrewsbury, SHR
* Solihull, WMS
* Tamworth, STS
* Worcester, WORPopulation > 50,000
* Burton-upon-Trent, STS
* Cannock, STS
* Halesowen, STS
* Hereford, HER
* Kidderminster, WOR
* Rugby, WAR
* Stafford, STS
* Stourbridge, WMSOther Notable
* Leamington Spa, WAR
* Leek, STS
* Lichfield, STS
* Stratford-upon-Avon, WAR
* Warwick, WAR

Regional Assembly

The official representative body of the region is the West Midlands Regional Assembly which has limited administrative functions such as regional planning and economic development. The assembly is not an elected body, but is made up of members appointed from local councils across the region, and members from regional interest groups such as business and environmental groups and trade unions, known as a quango. It is based on "Edward Street" in Birmingham, near the National Indoor Arena.

Local government

The official region consists of the following subdivisions:

Key: shire county = † | metropolitan county = *


The West Midlands' population accounts for almost 11% of England's overall population. 49.36% of the region's population resides in the West Midlands county, 20.17% in Staffordshire, 10.49% in Worcestershire, 9.91% in Warwickshire, 8.56% in Shropshire, and 3.37% in Herefordshire.


West Midlands conurbation

Coal mining used to be the main industry of the Black Country. Nationally famous companies in the West Midlands include Cadbury's in Bournville, Birmingham. Mitchells and Butlers, the pub chain company, CrossCountry, and National Express are in Birmingham. MG Rover Group was sold in 2005 and most of the plant was knocked down but small production of cars began on the site by Nanjing Automobile Group in 2008. The former Rover Company had begun from the inventor of the modern-day bicycle in Coventry. H. Samuel, the jewellers, is in Hockley of the Jewellery Quarter. RoSPA is based in Edgbaston, Dollond & Aitchison are in Aston, Goodyear Tyres and Dunlop Tyres are in Erdington, and Severn Trent (water) in Sheldon. AGA Consumer Products Ltd is in Shirley. Daihatsu UK is in West Bromwich. E.ON UK (former Powergen), Jaguar Cars and Volvo Cars UK, Peugeot UK (head office), Jewson, and Thomson Holidays are in Coventry. Land Rover and Enterprise Inns are in Solihull. Carillion plc and Tarmac are in Wolverhampton, with Poundland in Willenhall.


The brewing companies such as Coors Brewers are in Burton on Trent, as well as Marmite, Marston's, and Punch Taverns. JCB is based in Staffordshire. Michelin Tyres are made in Sideway in Stoke-on-Trent. RoadChef are at Norton Canes, near Cannock. Armitage Shanks is in Rugeley.

Rural counties

ConocoPhillips UK, JET (petrol), and Volvo Group UK are in Warwick. BMW have their main European four-cylinder engine plant at Hams Hall near the M42. Codemasters is in Leamington Spa. ALDI UK is in Atherstone, Holland & Barrett, the health food chain, is based in Nuneaton. Aston Martin is at Gaydon. Morgan Est is in Rugby. NFU Mutual is in Tiddington near Stratford. The British Horse Society is in Kenilworth. Bulmers Cider is in Hereford. Halfords and GKN are in Redditch. Lea & Perrins is in Worcester. Müller Dairy Ltd is based in Market Drayton, Shropshire.


Birmingham (8), Walsall (2), Wolverhampton (1), Warwickshire (6), Stoke on Trent (1), and Telford and Wrekin (2) have selective schools. The other counties or metropolitan boroughs do not - being completely comprehensive. Virtually all of the grammar schools are in the top twenty schools for the West Midlands. Competition for these schools can be high, with their excellent records. At GCSE, the best performing area is Solihull, followed closely by Shropshire. Herefordshire is also above the England average. The worst performing area is Sandwell, followed by Stoke-on-Trent. Wolverhampton and Walsall also do not perform well. For a metropolitan borough, Dudley performs higher than many in Birmingham. At A level, the best performing area is Herefordshire, followed by Shropshire. All the other areas of the West Midlands perform under the UK average. Solihull does not perform as well at A level as it does at GCSE.

chool league tables

Below is a list of the top twenty state schools in the West Midlands by 2007 A level results:
* 1. King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, Kings Heath (1179)
* 2. King Edward VI Handsworth
* 3. King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, Kings Heath
* 4. King Edward VI School Stratford-upon-Avon
* 5. Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls
* 6. Wolverhampton Girls' High School
* 7. King Edward VI Five Ways, Bartley Green
* 8. Queen Mary's Grammar School, Walsall
* 9. Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls
* 10. Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield
* 11. King Edward VI College, Stourbridge
* 12. Adams' Grammar School, Newport, Shropshire
* 13. King Edward VI Aston
* 14. Thomas Telford School, Telford
* 15. Hereford Sixth Form College
* 16. Newport Girls' High School
* 17. Queen Mary's High School, Walsall
* 18. St. Joseph's College, Stoke-on-Trent
* 19. Blessed William Howard Catholic School, Stafford
* 20. Rugby High School for Girls (929)


There are nine universities in the region:
* Aston University, 8,915 students
* Coventry University, 19,495 students
* Keele University, 12,720 students
* Staffordshire University, 15,200 students
* Birmingham City University, 25,010 students
* University of Warwick, Coventry 30,380 students
* University of Birmingham, 30,725 students
* University of Wolverhampton, 24,020 students
* University of Worcester, 7,655 students

There are also three university colleges:
* Harper Adams University College, 2,200 students
* Newman University College, 2,600 students
* University College Birmingham, 13,970 students

Local media

* The West Midlands region of the BBC is based at the Mailbox in Birmingham. From there, the regional programme Midlands Today is produced. ITV Central broadcasts from Birmingham, with its Central Tonight regional programme.
* BBC Radios WM, Coventry & Warwickshire, Stoke, Hereford & Worcester and Shropshire.
* Commercial radio stations: BRMB, Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton, Mercia FM in Coventry, Touch FM (Burton, Lichfield and Tamworth) in Tamworth, Touch FM (Coventry), Touch FM (Stratford-upon-Avon), Kerrang! 105.2 in Birmingham, Galaxy Birmingham, Smooth Radio 105.7 in Birmingham, 107.1 Rugby FM, The Severn (north Shropshire), 107.2 The Wyre in Kidderminster, 107.7 The Wolf in Wolverhampton, Wyvern FM in Worcester, 100.7 Heart FM in Birmingham, and Signal 1 from Stoke.
* Newspapers - the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Express & Star in Wolverhampton, Burton Mail, Shropshire Star, Worcester News, The Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent and Coventry Evening Telegraph.
* Websites - Channel 4's 4Talent network has a hub in the West Midlands dealing with rising media talent from the region: [http://www.channel4.com/4talent/midlands/]


External links

* [http://www.advantagewm.co.uk/ Advantage West Midlands - Regional Development Agency]
* [http://www.go-wm.gov.uk Government Office for the West Midlands]
* [http://www.wmra.gov.uk West Midlands Regional Assembly]
* [http://www.direct.gov.uk/Dl1/Directories/LocalCouncils/LocalGovernmentByRegion/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4003650&chk=J1Wt8n Government's list of councils in the West Midlands]
* [http://www.mlawestmidlands.org.uk/ MLA West Midlands - Museums, Libraries and Archives Regional Agency]
* [http://www.westmidlands.nhs.uk NHS West Midlands - The regional Strategic Health Authority for the West Midlands]
* [http://www.westmidlandsno.org.uk West Midlands NO! - campaign against regional government in the West Midlands]


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