I am offering for sale a CD of Robert K Dents 1880 Boook of Old and New Birmingham: A History of the Town and its People complete with high quality scans and searchable images.
The history of Birmingham in England spans 1400 years of growth, during which time it has evolved from a small 7th century Anglo Saxon hamlet on the edge of the Forest of Arden at the fringe of early Mercia to become a major city through a combination of immigration, innovation and civic pride that helped to bring about major social and economic reforms and to create the Industrial Revolution, inspiring the growth of similar cities across the world. At the beginning of the 19th century, Birmingham had a population of around 74,000. By the end of the century it had grown to 630,000.
This rapid population growth meant that by the middle of the century, just prior to the publication of this work, Birmingham had become the second largest population centre in Britain. Between 1873 and 1876, Joseph Chamberlain served as mayor of the town. Under his leadership, Birmingham was transformed, as the council introduced one of the most ambitious improvement schemes outside London. The council purchased the city's gas and water works, and moved to improve the lighting and provide clean drinking water to the city, income from these utilities also provided a healthy income for the council, which was re-invested into the city to provide new amenities.
Under Chamberlain, some of Birmingham's worst slums were cleared. And through the city-centre a new thoroughfare was constructed, Corporation Street, which soon became a fashionable shopping street. He was instrumental in building of the Council House and the Victoria Law Courts in Corporation Street. Numerous public parks were also opened. The improvements introduced by Chamberlain were to prove the blueprint for municipal government, and were soon copied by other cities.