Birth registration in England and Wales (Scotland and Ireland have their own registration systems) began on 1 July 1837. The information on a birth certificate will normally be:
Date and place of birth (occasionally you will get a time, particularly in the very early years and/or for twin births)
Name of child. Note that this is a forename only until the 20th century. Although the GRO index concatenates this with the name of the father (if shown), the birth certificate itself does not presume to award the child a surname.
Name and surname of father. This is a tricky area. The original legislation which established civil registration was very woolly on what should happen with illegitimate births. So in the early years it is not uncommon to find the name of an illegitimate child's father in this column. Around 1850, the system was hardened up so no "putative" father could be named on a certificate. The 1875 Registration Act stated that a putative father *could* be named, but only if he attended the registration with the mother and signed the register - this is very rare!
Name, surname and maiden name of mother
Occupation of father
Name, description and signature of informant
Date of registration.
Hope this helps