- Brum was wholly a product of the Industrial Revolution; a 'new town', already a centre of manufacturing of many kinds: as such, it was "free from the grip of the guilds and their rigid apprenticeships; success was open to anyone, irrespective of background, who had energy, foresight and capital"
- at the time there were strict laws against Nonconformists (unitarians, quakers etc) from attending the universities; and so smart people from such backgrounds directed their talents towards industry and commerce
- there was also legislation against Nonconformist clergymen from living within 5 miles of a Corporate Town: but Birmingham was not (yet) a Corporate Town! It was thus a haven for dissenting clergy and their congregations; and there flourished such firms as Cadburys, Lloyds and GKN founded by such folk
Anyone got other good stories along these lines? The best UK example of a genuinely deliberate attempt in such a direction was Canary Wharf and the London docklands in general. I happened to know Geoffrey Howe quite well, and he had told me of his vision for Docklands even before the 1979 GE. In many respects it was his greatest achievement. These things can be done.
Surely, Australia ought to be carving out a prime chunk of its (immensely long) coastline for HongKong2 ...
** Introduction to The Edwardian Lady, by Ina Taylor