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Basingstoke (/ˈbeɪzɪŋstoʊk/ BAY-zing-stohk) is the largest town in the county of Hampshire.[b] It is situated in south-central England and lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon, at the far western edge of The North Downs. It is located 30 miles (48 km) north-east of Southampton, 48 miles (77 km) south-west of London, 27 miles (43 km) west of Guildford, 22 miles (35 km) south of Reading and 20 miles (32 km) north-east of the county town and former capital Winchester. According to the 2016 population estimate, the town had a population of 113,776.[c] It is part of the borough of Basingstoke and Deane and part of the parliamentary constituency of Basingstoke.
Basingstoke is an old market town expanded in the mid-1960s, as a result of an agreement between London County Council and Hampshire County Council. It was developed rapidly after the Second World War, along with various other towns in the United Kingdom, in order to accommodate part of the London 'overspill' as perceived under the Greater London Plan in 1944. Basingstoke market was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and it remained a small market town until the early 1960s. At the start of World War II, the population was little more than 13,000. It still has a regular market, but is now larger than Hampshire County Council's definition of a market town.
Basingstoke became an important economic centre during the second half of the 20th century and houses the locations of the UK headquarters of Motorola, The Automobile Association, De La Rue, Sun Life Financial, ST Ericsson, GAME, Barracuda Networks, Eli Lilly and Company, FCB Halesway part of FCB, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions (the leasing arm of BNP Paribas in the UK) and Sony Professional Solutions. It is also the location of the European headquarters of the TaylorMade Golf Company. Other industries include IT, telecommunications, insurance and electronics.