The West Midlands have played a sizable role in the economic growth of the British Empire, as the wool, cloth, coal, brass, and steel products manufactured here were available for purchase in all corners of the world. It was also the epicenter of the British automobile industry, which thrived for nearly a century. While this industry-heavy area was heavily damaged during World War II, many old buildings, such as the Jacobean-era Aston Hall and the Baroque-era St. Philip`s Cathedral, survive. The three major cities of the West Midlands are Birmingham, the United Kingdom`s vibrant and cosmopolitan second-largest city; Coventry, a city with a storied history that is perhaps best-known as the site of Lady Godiva`s infamous horseback ride; and Wolverhampton, an historical regional hub of wool and steel production which is now a noteworthy city in Britain`s aerospace industry.
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