From playing the first game of lawn tennis, inventing the first practical bicycle and pioneering the first automated traffic lights, through to literary heroes such as William Shakespeare, the West Midlands’ innovators, products and ideas have helped drive Britain forward and shape the world.

50 ways the West Midlands has made its mark PDF

Social media - 50 ways the West Midlands has made its mark

Sound of the West Midlands - Spotify playlist

From the world’s oldest digital computer and the UK’s first 5G testbed, the West Midlands stands at the forefront of innovation. (IMAGE)

The first Lloyds Bank was opened in Oldbury in 1864. Now, in 2019, we’re home to HSBC’s UK headquarters. (IMAGE)

In 1824, John Cadbury began selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate in Bull Street, Birmingham. (IMAGE)

In 1712, Thomas Newcomen built the first fuel-burning engine. In 2026 High Speed 2 in the West Midlands will launch. (IMAGE)

The Jaguar Land Rover plant, Solihull. Britain’s first cycle factory, Coventry. The West Midlands' manufacturing industry remains influential. (IMAGE)

From heavy metal to two-tone. From two-tone to modern pop. The West Midlands continues to drive the global music scene. (IMAGE)

Then, Walsall's Sister Dora was famed for her nursing and medical skills. Now, Queen Elizabeth Birmingham is one of the largest hospitals in Europe. (IMAGE)

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare continues to be one of the most important literary figures in the world. (IMAGE)

50 ways (GIF)

BPFS (GIF)

Culture (GIF)

Life Sciences (GIF)

Food and drink (GIF)

Heritage (GIF)

Tech and Digital (GIF)