Over a hundred years later, Steve Bell, my favourite cartoonist, has a similarly dismissive approach - he recalled that after a year teaching art there, he resolved to a) never teach again and b) never visit Birmingham ever again (he'd 'rather live in a blocked toilet than live in fookin' Birmingham'. Since then, he's consistently drawn Birmingham as a network of dystopian flyovers and canals littered with dead dogs, floating paws-up. (Link above leads to full-size version).
Is Birmingham so bad? Yes, it's suffered the depredations of heavy industry, political oppression, the Luftwaffe, local planners, economic insanity and the cynical short-termism of property developers (if you think the Bullring complex is decent urban design, you're mad), but I rather like it. There are some decent pubs, identifiable 'quarters' that aren't the fantasy of some 'regeneration consultant', and an interesting identity which derives from a fascinating history. OK, it's ugly, damp and knackered - but from here in The Dark Place, it's the Shining City on the Hill.