The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
A roads in Zone 4 of the Great Britain numbering scheme
List of A roads in zone 4 in Great Britain starting north of the A4 and south/west of the A5
Highbury Hall, now a Grade II* listed building, was commissioned as his Birmingham residence by Joseph Chamberlain in 1878, two years after he became member of parliament for Birmingham. It took its name from the Highbury area of London; the architect was John Henry Chamberlain. Joseph Chamberlain lived in Highbury from 1880 until his death in 1914. Beatrice Webb described the house as being dark and gloomy. Chamberlain was able to fill it with the gifts he was presented with during his years as Colonial Secretary, his local political allies attended dinners at the house on Saturday evenings, in this way Chamberlain was able to exert his influence over local developments. Adjacent to the house were Chamberlain's famous orchid houses. From here a supply of orchids was sent every few days to his London residence when Parliament was sitting; the gardens were magnificent, included a lake: Chamberlain supervised their construction closely. During World War I, Highbury Hall was used as a hospital home for disabled soldiers.
It was given to trustees in 1919 by his elder son, Austen Chamberlain, it passed to the Corporation of Birmingham in 1932, when it was used as a home for elderly women. In 1984, it was restored by Birmingham City Council, is now used as a conference centre and occasional restaurant; the living rooms and bedrooms are open to viewing by clients. The grounds of the hall now form Highbury Park, a publicly accessible area of Grade II listed parkland. In 2016 the Chamberlain Highbury Trust took over the site from Birmingham City Council on a long leasehold. An £ 8 million fundraising campaign was parkland; the plans aim to open Highbury to the public for the first time, creating an exhibition on the Chamberlains' lives and history of the hall and a café, as well as maintaining spaces for weddings and conferences. Roberts, Stephen. Joseph Chamberlain's Highbury: a public private house. Birmingham: Birmingham Biographies. ISBN 9781515044680.: a detailed account of life in the house during Chamberlain's time.
The Chamberlain Highbury Trust
West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands, it contains Birmingham and the larger West Midlands conurbation, the third most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Coventry is located within the West Midlands county, but is separated from the conurbation to the west by several miles of green belt; the region contains 6 shire counties which stretch from the Welsh Border to the East Midlands. 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, the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staffordshire is home to the industrialised Potteries conurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the Staffordshire Moorlands area, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Park near Leek.
The region encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills, Cannock Chase, Malvern Hills, parts of the Cotswolds. Warwickshire is home to the towns of Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of writer William Shakespeare, the birthplace of Rugby football and Nuneaton, birthplace to author George Eliot; the official region contains the ceremonial counties of Herefordshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. There is some confusion in the use of the term "West Midlands", as the name is used for the much smaller West Midlands county and conurbation, in the central belt of the Midlands and on the eastern side of the West Midlands Region, it 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 in west Herefordshire on the border with Powys, Wales; the region contains five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Cannock Chase, parts of the Wye Valley and Cotswolds.
The Peak District national park stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire. Served by many lines in the urban areas such as the West Coast Main Line and branches; the Welsh Marches Line and the Cotswold Line transect the region as well as the Cross Country Route and Chiltern Line. There are plans to reopen the Honeybourne Line. Numerous notable roads pass with most converging around the central conurbation; the M5, which connects South West England to the region, passes through Worcestershire, near to Worcester, through the West Midlands county, past West Bromwich, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M6 just south of Walsall. The M6, which has its southern terminus just outside the southeast of the region at its junction with the M1, which connects the region to North West England, passes Rugby and Nuneaton in Warwickshire and Birmingham, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire; the M6 toll provides an alternative route to the M6 between Coleshill and Cannock, passing north of Sutton Coldfield and just south of Lichfield.
The M40 connects the region through South East England to London, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M42. The M42 connects the M5 at Bromsgrove, passing around the south and east of Birmingham, joining the M40 and M6, passing Solihull and Castle Bromwich, to Tamworth, northeast of Birmingham; the M50 connects the M5 from near Tewkesbury to Ross-on-Wye in the southwest. The M54 connects Wellington in the west, to the M6 near Cannock; the A5 road traverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Cannock and Nuneaton. The longest elevated road viaduct in the UK is the 3 miles section from Gravelly Hill to Castle Bromwich on the M6, opened on 24 May 1972; the section of the A45 in Coventry from Willenhall to Allesley in 1939 was one of the UK's first large planned road schemes. Princes Square in Wolverhampton had Britain's first automatic traffic lights on 5 November 1927. On 13 January 2012, 34-year-old Ben Westwood of Wednesfield, was caught by the police, when speeding at 180 mph, in an Audi RS5 with a Lamborghini engine, from Wolverhampton up to Stafford on the M6, back again.
He was travelling so fast that he was outpacing the Central Counties Air Operations Unit Eurocopter helicopter. He and the vehicle had been in fifteen smash and grab raids and he was jailed for nine years at Wolverhampton Crown Court in August 2012; as part of the transport planning system, the Regional Assembly is under statutory requirement to produce a regional transport strategy to provide long term planning for transport in the region. This involves region wide transport schemes such as those carried out by Highways England and Network Rail. Within the region, the local transport authorities carry out transport planning through the use of a local transport plan which outlines their strategies and implementation programme; the most recent LTP is that for the period 2006–11. In the West Midlands region, the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Herefordshire, Shropshire U. A. Staffordshire and Wrekin U. A. Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire; the transport authority of Stoke-on-Trent U.
A. publishes a joint local transport plan in partnership with
A farmers' market is a physical retail marketplace intended to sell foods directly by farmers to consumers. Farmers' markets may be indoors or outdoors and consist of booths, tables or stands where farmers sell fruits, meats and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. Farmers' markets reflect the local culture and economy; the size of the market may be just a few stalls or it may be as large as several city blocks. Due to their nature, they tend to be less rigidly regulated than retail produce shops, they are distinguished from public markets, which are housed in permanent structures, open year-round, offer a variety of non-farmer/non-producer vendors, packaged foods and non-food products. The current concept of a farmers' market is similar to past concepts, but different in relation to other forms – as aspects of consumer retailing, continue to shift over time. Similar forms existed before the Industrial age, but formed part of broader markets, where suppliers of food and other goods gathered to retail their wares.
Trading posts began a shift toward retailers. General stores and grocery stores continued that specialization trend in retailing, optimizing the consumer experience, while abstracting it further from production and from production's growing complexities. Modern industrial food production's advantages over prior methods depend on modern, fast transport and limited product variability, but transport costs and delays cannot be eliminated. So where distance strained industrial suppliers' reach, where consumers had strong preference for local variety, farmers' markets remained competitive with other forms of food retail. Starting in the mid-2000s, consumer demand for foods that are fresher and for foods with more variety—has led to growth of farmers' markets as a food-retailing mechanism. Farmers' markets can offer farmers increased profit over selling to wholesalers, food processors, or large grocery firms. By selling directly to consumers, produce needs less transport, less handling, less refrigeration and less time in storage.
By selling in an outdoor market, the cost of land, buildings and air-conditioning is reduced or eliminated. Farmers may retain profit on produce not sold to consumers, by selling the excess to canneries and other food-processing firms. At the market, farmers can retain the full premium for part of their produce, instead of only a processor's wholesale price for the entire lot. However, other economists say "there are few benefits in terms of energy efficiency, quality or cost... fun though they are, are not good economic models."Some farmers prefer the simplicity, immediacy and independence of selling direct to consumers. One method noted by the special interest group Food Empowerment Project promotes community-supported agriculture programs. In this scheme, consumers pay farms seasonally or monthly to receive weekly or biweekly boxes of produce. Alternatively, they may be required to pay for an entire season’s worth of produce in advance of the growing season. In either case, consumers risk losing their money.
Among the benefits touted for communities with farmers' markets: Farmers' markets help maintain important social ties, linking rural and urban populations and close neighbors in mutually rewarding exchange. Market traffic generates traffic for nearby businesses buying at markets encourages attention to the surrounding area and ongoing activities by providing outlets for'local' products, farmers' markets help create distinction and uniqueness, which can increase pride and encourage visitors to return. Reduced transport and refrigeration can benefit communities too: lower transport & refrigeration energy costs lower transport pollution lower transport infrastructure cost less land dedicated to food storageFarmers' markets may contribute to innovative distribution means that strengthen civic engagement by reducing the social distances between urban and rural communities. With fewer intermediaries, the support of independent growers by local community members can enhance local economic opportunities and health & wellness in poor communities.
Some consumers may favor farmers' markets for the perceived: reduced overhead: driving, etc. fresher foods seasonal foods healthier foods a better variety of foods, e.g.: organic foods, pasture-raised meats, free-range eggs and poultry, handmade farmstead cheeses, heirloom produce heritage breeds of meat and many less transport-immune cultivars disfavored by large grocers a place to meet neighbors, etc. A place to enjoy an outdoor walk while getting needed groceriesEvidence seems to show that overall prices at a typical farmers' market are lower than prices at a supermarket because the process of production is more concise. Due in part to the increased interest in healthier foods, a greater desire to preserve local cultivars or livestock and an increased understanding of the importance of maintaining small, sustainable farms on the fringe of urban environments, farmers' markets in the US have grown from 1,755 in 1994 to 4,385 in 2006, to 5,274 in 2009, to 8,144 in 2013. In New York City, there are 107 farmers' markets in operation.
In the Los Angeles area, 88 farmers' markets exist, many of which support Asian fare. In the U. S. all levels of government have provided funding to farmers' markets, for instance, through the federal programs, and. The programs subsidize purchases at farmers' markets by lo
Coffee culture describes a social atmosphere or a series of associated social behaviours that depend upon coffee as a social lubricant. The term refers to the diffusion and adoption of coffee as a consumed stimulant by a culture. In the late 20th century espresso became an dominant form of such a culture in the Western world and urbanized centers around the globe; the culture formation around coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 14th century Turkey. Coffee houses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were not only social hubs, but artistic and intellectual centers as well. For example, Les Deux Magots in Paris, now a popular tourist attraction, was once associated with the intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses in London became popular meeting places for artists, writers and centers for political and commercial activity. Elements of today's coffeehouses have their origins in early coffeehouses and continue to form part of coffee culture.
In the United States, coffee culture is used to designate the ubiquitous presence of espresso stands and coffee shops in the Seattle Metropolitan area, along with the spread of business franchises such as Starbucks. Other aspects of coffee culture include the presence of free wireless Internet access for customers, many of whom do business or personal work in these locations for hours. Coffee culture varies by country. For example, the strength of existing café-style coffee culture in Australia explains Starbucks' poor performance in the continent. In urban centers around the world, it is not unusual to see several espresso shops and stands within walking distance of one another, or on opposite corners of the same intersection. Thus, the term coffee culture is used in popular and business media to describe the deep impact of the market penetration of coffee-serving establishments. A coffeehouse or café is an establishment which serves coffee or other hot and cold drinks. Cafés have been important social gathering places in Europe.
They continue to be venues where people gather to talk, read, entertain one another, or pass the time. During the 16th century, coffeehouses were banned in Mecca because they attracted political gatherings. In 2016, Albania surpassed Spain as the country with the most coffee houses per capita in the world. In fact, there are 654 coffee houses per 100,000 inhabitants in Albania. Café culture in China has grown over the years: Shanghai alone has an estimated 6,500 coffee houses, including small chains and larger corporations like Starbucks. In addition to coffee, many cafés serve tea, sandwiches and other light refreshments; some cafés provide other services, such as wired or wireless internet access for their customers. Many social aspects of coffee can be seen in the modern-day lifestyle. By absolute volume, the United States is the largest market for coffee, followed by Germany and Japan. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are large coffee-consuming countries. Tim Hortons' is Canada's largest coffee chain, pouring millions of cups of coffee a day.
The Nordic countries consume the most coffee per capita, with Finland occupying the top spot with a per-capita consumption of 12 kg per year, followed by Norway and Denmark. Consumption has vastly increased in recent years in the traditionally tea-drinking United Kingdom, but still below 5 kg per year as of 2005. Turkish coffee is popular in Turkey, the Eastern Mediterranean, southeastern Europe. Coffeehouse culture has had a strong cultural penetration in much of the former Ottoman Empire, where Turkish coffee remains the dominant style of preparation; the coffee enjoyed in the Ottoman Middle East was produced in Yemen/Ethiopia, despite multiple attempts to ban the substance for its stimulating qualities. By 1600, coffee and coffeehouses were a prominent feature of Ottoman life. There are various scholarly perspectives on the functions of the Ottoman coffeehouse. Many of these argue that Ottoman coffeehouses were centers of important social ritual, making them as, or more important, than the coffee itself.
"At the start of the modern age, the coffee houses were places for renegotiating the social hierarchy and for challenging the social order". Coffee has been important in Austrian and French culture since the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vienna's coffeehouses are prominent in Viennese culture and known internationally, while Paris was instrumental in the development of "café society" in the first half of the 20th century. In France, coffee consumption is viewed as a social activity and exists within the café culture. Espresso based drinks, including but not limited to Café au lait and Café crèma, are most popular within modern French coffee culture. Notably in Northern Europe, coffee parties are a popular form of entertainment; the host or hostess at the coffee party serves cake and pastries, sometimes homemade. In Germany, Netherlands and the Nordic countries, strong black coffee is regularly drank along with or after main meals such as lunch and dinner, several times a day at work or school.
In these countries Germany and Sweden and cafés will provide free refills of black coffee if customers have bought a sweet treat or pastry with their drink. Coffee has played a large role in history and literature because of the effects of the industry on cultures whe
West Midlands Fire Service
West Midlands Fire Service is the third largest fire and rescue service in the UK, with only the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and London Fire Brigade being larger, is one of only two fire services in which all stations are full-time. WMFS delivers emergency services to 2.83 million residents across seven local authority areas in the county of the West Midlands in England. The brigade is run under the command of Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach and the Strategic Enabling Team, providing emergency response from 38 strategically located fire stations, divided into six Command Areas. Responsibility for the running on the brigade lies with West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, a joint authority made up of councillors from the seven local authorities in the West Midlands; the service was created in 1974. Prior to its creation, each of the county boroughs in the West Midlands area had their own fire brigade, the largest of, the City of Birmingham Fire Brigade. WMFS was created by parts of Warwickshire Fire Brigade.
The service was headquartered in the former City of Birmingham Fire Brigade headquarters at Lancaster Circus which were opened on 2 December 1935 by HRH Duke of Kent. It is now a listed building and the service moved to purpose-built, modern headquarters on Vauxhall Road, Nechells, in 2008; the following people have held the office of Chief Fire Officer: 2014 to present: Phil Loach 2009 to 2013: Vijith Randeniya OBE 2003 to 2008: Frank Sheehan 1998 to 2003: Kenneth Knight 1990 to 1998: Graham Meldum 1981 to 1990: Brian Fuller 1975 to 1981: Tom Lister CBE 1974 to 1975: George Merrell CBE All fire stations within the service are full-time, work on 2 types of shift: Core - full 10- or 14-hour shift on 4 watches of Blue, Red and White Late - 12-hour shift running from 10:00AM to 10:00PM on 2 Watches of Orange and Purple. Tettenhall is the only late crewed station, therefore Wolverhampton covers the area at nightBirmingham City Centre is covered by 3 stations: Aston located and covering the Northern Area.
Pump Rescue Ladder: 1 / 2 Brigade Response Vehicle: 5 Hydraulic Platform: 4 Business Support Vehicle: 9 Incident Command & Control Unit: Z2 Command Support Vehicle High Volume Support Pump Vehicle Prime Mover: 8 / M32 / M96Pods: Hazardous substances Environmental Protection Unit Foam Distribution Unit General Purpose Unit High Volume Hose Layer High Volume Pump Incident Support Unit Major Rescue Unit Multi Purpose Vehicle Carrier Water Support Unit Welfare support unit Welfare Unit Technical Rescue Pump: 1 Technical Rescue Support Light 4x4 Vehicle Prime Mover: 8Pods: Major Rescue Unit Trench Rescue Unit Water Support Unit Personnel Carrier Vehicle Search & Rescue Dog Unit Prime Mover: M98 / M121 / M122 / M123Pods: Module 1 - Technical Search Equipment Module 2 - Heavy Transport, Confined Space & Hot Cutting Equipment Module 3 - Breaching & Breaking Equipment Module 4 - Multi Purpose Vehicle Module 5 - Shoring Operations Detection, Identification & Monitoring: M4 Incident Response Unit: M45 / M62 Prime Mover: M32 / M96Pods: Mass Decontamination Disrobe Mass Decontamination Rerobe West Midlands Fire Service is one of only three brigades in the UK where all operational firefighters are full-time, the others being London Fire Brigade & Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
Firefighters are part of a Watch system that consists of'core' crews and'late' crews depending on the station they are serving at. Staff that are part of the core crews will be on duty for two days from 8am until 6pm two nights from 6pm until 8am. Late crews are on duty from 10am until 10pm for four days in a row. Firefighters that are part of the core crews will belong to either a Red, White or Blue Watch, those in the late crews will belong to either an Orange or Purple Watch; as with many other fire services, West Midlands Fire Service uses a rank structure that has evolved over time – the original titles are still used some brigades. In January 2019 it was alleged that West Midlands Fire Service was using discriminatory practices in recruitment of new firefighters. Once candidates had passed a reactions test, they moved on to a numerical and mechanical reasoning exam. Media reports stated that ethnic minorities and females taking this test were deemed to have passed should they achieve a score of 60%.
However, it was claimed that white male candidates were required to score at least 70%. Member of parliament David Davies condemned the policy, stating "It's bonkers, they should just be picking woman for the job. They shouldn't be lowering the target for anyone just to meet a target." The service has target of 60 % of new recruits to be female by 35 % to be ethnic minorities. In repose to criticism, the organisation did not comment on whether it had different pass marks for different groups, stating "West Midlands Fire Service is committed to a workforce which reflects the diversity of all our communities" and "our recruitment shows our determination to challenge outdated perceptions about who can – and can’t – be a firefighter."West Midlands Fire Service's statement. Operating out of two locations, a primary base at Bickenhill fire station and a satellite base at Wednesbury fire station, the WMFS Technical Rescue Unit