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Named in celebration of the centenary of Birmingham's city status (1989), Centenary Square is one of the City's newest public open space. The square is a work of art in itself, paving, railings and lamps being designed by artist Tess Jaray. A variety of live events are held in Centenary Square, which is also the focus of New Year's Eve celebrations.
Birmingham's world renowned science and industry collections will be moving to the new Discovery Centre at Millennium Point in Digbeth. The Discovery Centre, due to open in the year 2001, will be a purpose built world class museum of the 21st century, exploring the wonders of science, technology and the region's unique heritage. It will display Birmingham's science, industry and natural history collections, alongside new cutting edge exhibits using the latest technology.
Work on the enormous task of moving the tens of thousands of exhibits began after the Science Museum closed on 31st October 1997. Taking nearly four years, it will involve highly skilled teams of technicians, conservationists and curators to carefully move the larger exhibits, including the City of Birmingham Locomotive, Birmingham's last surviving Tram, the Railton land speed record car and the Woolrich Generator.
For example, the world's oldest working steam engine, the 38ft high Smethwick Beam Engine, will require great care and time to move. It took its original builders over nine months to erect on a prepared site. The engine will have to be ready for rebuilding into the fabric of the new Discovery Centre. In the meantime the new Light on Science has moved to the Museum and Art Gallery and is a taste of what is to come at the Discovery Centre.
Birmingham Nature Centre - Otters, foxes, lynxes, fallow deer, harvest mice and snowy owls are among 134 species of mainly British and European wildlife at Birmingham Nature Centre. The six and a half acre site in leafy Edgbaston is also home to creatures from elsewhere in the world, domestic animals such as goats and pigs, wild flowers and birds. Have a look at a more detailed map of our site. All of the creatures are kept in surroundings which are as similar as possible to their natural habitats. Birmingham Nature Centre is an ideal place for young children to learn about wildlife and the importance of conservation.
Original terminus of the London - Birmingham railway and built by Philip Hardwick in 1838, who designed the original Euston Station too. By 1854 trains were using New Street instead and Curzon Street became a goods station. Part of the building was the Queen's Hotel. Many times threatened with demolition, it has survived as one of the City's most important buildings, in the centre of an area of great industrial heritage.
In 1995, Birmingham Festival Choral Society celebrated its 150th Anniversary. It was founded in 1845 to supply the chorus for the Birmingham Triennial Festivals, though its origins go back to the earliest Festivals (the late 1760's) which helped to raise funds for the building of Birmingham General Hospital. The Society has performed many famous premieres, including Mendelssohn's Elijah (1846), Dvorak's Requiem (1891) and Elgar's Dream of Geronitius (1900). The policy of commissioning and performing new works is continued today, as is the tradition of extensive fundraising for charity.
Commercial Services looks after Birmingham's historic Bull Ring - site of a market for more than 800 years. Within the complex are five retail markets selling everything from fruit and vegetables to toys, bric-a-brac and antique vases, attracting around 20 million customers a year.
Birmingham's wholesale market - which includes a Horticultural Hall, Fish, Poultry and Meat Markets - serves the whole West Midlands conurbation - a marketplace of around 5 million people. It has a turnover of 280m and employs around 1,350 people.
The Department has started an ambitious programme to modernise Birmingham's wholesale markets to comply with EU regulations, and will be an active partner in the future redevelopment by SSP/LET International of the Bull Ring Markets and Shopping Centre.
The Department licences and monitors local suburban markets, car boot sales and street trading. It is also responsible for providing catering for Social Services day centre users and meals on wheels, as well as Further Education Colleges and civic events held in the Council buildings.
The largest local authority department of its kind in the UK, Birmingham's Leisure and Community Services Department aims to improve the quality of life of citizens through a wide range of services - including libraries, museums, parks and leisure centres. Libraries provide books and other materials for leisure and pleasure and information on every subject under the sun, and the Central Library is the largest public library in Europe. Adult education widens the horizons of thousands of people every year with classes on hundreds of subjects.
The department is also responsible for the Council run Museums and Art Gallery, to preserve Birmingham's heritage and play a vital role in attracting tourists. The youth service, playscheme organisers, sports development officers and community leisure staff work to improve and celebrate the sense of community in Birmingham. Rangers work with local people to protect and conserve plants and wildlife in parks and open spaces and on river banks. The city is enhanced with award winning floral displays created by the department's green-fingered gardeners.
Leisure centres provide facilities for a variety of fitness activities and sports including swimming and golf, and Birmingham hosts many major sporting events each year such as athletics and judo. Spectacular events like Fireworks Fantasia and New Year's Eve Celebrations are organised for the enjoyment of thousands of citizens and also help to attract visitors to the city.
Although Birmingham's economy underwent a period of consistent expansion during the mid and late 1980s, output growth across the City lagged behind the national average. In the manufacturing sector - the local economy's key wealth creator - growth in Birmingham was some 15% lower than in the UK as a whole, while investment was, on average, some 10% below the national average.
Economic forecasts prepared by the BEIC show that, in the second half of the 1990s and in the early part of the next century, the local economy has the potential to grow more rapidly than that of both the West Midlands region and the country as a whole. However, growth in job opportunities is expected to be relatively modest. The BEIC forecasts that employment levels in Birmingham may increase by just 11,300 jobs in the 1994-97 period; with a further growth of only 24,500 jobs between 1997 and 2005. A return to levels of employment seen in the late 1980s is unlikely until well into the next century.