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The population of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is more than 57 million people. It is mostly urban: nine tenth of it lives in towns and cities.
London, the largest city in Europe, dominates Britain. It is home for the headquarters of all government departments, Parliament, the major legal institutions and the monarch. It is the country's business and banking center and the center of its transport network. It contains headquarters of the national television networks and of all the national newspapers. It is about 7 times larger than any other city in the country. About a fifth of the total population of [lie United Kingdom lives in the Greater London area.
Tin- country's second largest city is Birmingham. During the industrial revolution, the city and the surrounding area of the west midlands, known as the Black country, developed into the country's major engineering center. Factories of Birmingham still convert iron and steel into a vast variety of goods.
In northern England, there arc large deposits of coal and iron ore. They enabled this area to lead the industrial revolution in the 18th century. On the western side, the Manchester area became, in the 19th century, the world's leading producer of cotton goods. On the eastern side, towns such as Bradford and Leeds became the world's leading producers of woolen goods. Further south, Sheffield became a center for the production of steel goods. Further north, around Newcastle, shipbuilding is the major industry.
Glasgow in Scotland is the third largest city in Britain. It is associated with heavy industry and some of the worst housing conditions in Britain. However, this image is one-sided. Glasgow has a strong artistic heritage. At the turn of the last century, the work of the Glasgow school put the city at the forefront of English design and architecture.
Edinburgh, which is half the size of Glasgow, is the city of science and is associated with science, law and administration. This reputation, together with many historic buildings has led to its being called "The Athens of the North". The annual festival of the arts is internationally famous.