Birmingham & Black Country

Your West Midlands questions answered

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Media captionAsk us your questions about where you live

All week you have been using Your Questions to tell us the things you have always wondered about the West Midlands.

From "Why does Birmingham's water come from Wales?" to "Where does Hereford get its name from?"

You have shared bugbears like: "Why are there always roadworks on the M6 into Birmingham?"

And asked "Why is Shropshire also known as Salop?" Here is how we have got on with answering your questions.


Paul James asked: "Could you tell me about Birmingham's water supply - why does it come from Wales, what is the story of the pipeline construction and how much did it cost?"

Every day 320 million litres of water travels 73 miles (117 km) from Wales to Birmingham to fill kettles, baths and boilers. But why does it come so far?

It dates back to the Victorian era when Birmingham was a rapidly growing city plagued by illnesses like cholera and typhoid, which were caused by contaminated water.

A search for clean water sparked an "amazing feat of ingenuity" to bring it from the Welsh hills to the city.

Image copyright Severn Trent
Image caption The Elan Valley Aqueduct is hailed as an "amazing feat of Victorian ingenuity and engineering"

Barbara Adams asked: "Why is there always work being carried out on the M6 towards Birmingham city centre? It's never for very long without cones."

For drivers commuting in and out of Birmingham during rush hour it can feel like there are "always" roadworks. Car-clogged roads are made even worse for drivers with regular diversions and temporary traffic lights. But why are there so many road works on the M6 and A38?

Image caption Road tunnels on the A38(M) through Birmingham city centre were closed overnight for five weeks in 2015

Chris Page asked: "Where did the name of Hereford come from?"

"Quite simply, it means army ford from the Old English," said Rhys Griffith, senior archivist at Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre.

"The Anglo-Saxon for army is Here. It is likely that Hereford had emerged as an Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical centre and a military frontier settlement by the end of the 8th Century."

Image copyright Andrew Brown
Image caption The name Hereford comes from the Old English for army ford

Peter Chapman asked: "Why is Shropshire also known as Salop?"

"Salop is an old abbreviation for Shropshire, which comes from the Anglo-French Salopesberia," said local historian Keith Pybus.

Salop was was also a Latin name for the county town, Shrewsbury, which also shares the motto of Floreat Salopia, which means let Shrewsbury, or Shropshire, flourish."

Image caption Salop comes from the Anglo-French Salopesberia

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