Birmingham is the second largest city in England and its derby clash is known as the ‘second city derby’.
What began as a Saxon village in the early 12th century slowly became a market town. Medieval Birmingham became known for its wool and metalworking industries.
Large scale population growth did not arrive until the 18th century. By 1750 the population had risen to around 24,000 and by the end of the century the population of Birmingham had risen to 73,000.
Industry in Birmingham continued to boom during the 18th century. Metalworking grew – belt buckles, shoes, blades, pins, nails, screws, bolts and buttons – and locksmiths were plentiful. In the late 18th century glass making boomed in Birmingham.
In the 1850s a network of sewers was dug under the streets building on the piped water that appeared in the 1820’s. With housing came asylums, schools and hospitals. The Botanical Gardens opened in 1832 and the first public park in Birmingham opened in 1856.
In 1838 Birmingham was connected to London by rail.
Amidst all the thriving factories and population growth came a desire for leisure time. From public parks, churches and industry came sport. Aston Villa were formed in 1874 by members of the Villa Wesleyan Cross Chapel. At the time however cricket and rugby were more popular so it was not until March 1875 that Aston Villa played its first match.
In the 1880’s Aston Villa were instrumental in the introduction of professionalism and the formation of the Football League. Villa Park became home to the club at the turn of the century and remains one of the most traditional stadiums in England.
Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, City became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham FC in 1905 and eventually Birmingham City FC in 1943.
St Andrews was adopted as the home ground in 1906.
While Villa are the original claret and blues, the Small Heath Alliance members decided among themselves that their first colours would be blue. Their first known kit was a dark blue shirt with a white sash and white shorts.
Birmingham City today are known for its modern line drawn globe and ball badge which features a ribbon carrying the club name and date of foundation. A little known fact is that it is one of the first fan designed badges when a supporter won a competition through a newspaper in 1972.
The two clubs are generally regarded as each other’s most hated rivals
First contested in 1879 the clubs are separated by roughly 3 miles (4.8 km). It is known as the Second City Derby based on Birmingham being referred to as the second city of the United Kingdom population wise.
Todays population of Birmingham, at almost 1,086,000, shows evidence of a city that has grown extraordinarily since its humble beginnings as a small market town in the 12th century.