In the county of Hampshire on the south coast of the country lies Basingstoke. The town proper has a population of just over 80,000, but this belies its true size as the town blends seemlessly into its suburbs. The larger Borough of Basingstoke and Deane area which includes suburbs has around 150,000 inhabitants. Basingstoke is situated near Reading and the county town of Winchester and has efficient transport links to surrounding urban centres as well as the capital. The town has ideal placement for access to both M3 and M4 motorways as well as only being 45 minutes from Waterloo on the train. In its formative years Basingstoke started out as a small market town at the time of the Anglo-Saxons and was later referenced in the Doomsday Book as being a royal manor. The area's Tudor past can be seen to this day in the ruins of Basing House which stand in the village of Old Basing just outside the main urban sprawl of Basingstoke. In more recent years the town's population mushroomed as London's commuter belt moved outwards with the growth of the capital, and in the sixties the town centre was totally rebuilt converting a once historic town to a much-mocked maze of concrete which, it was joked, was only fit for accountants to live in. This comedic connection goes back literally centuries to the time of Shakespeare who referred to Basingstoke in a less-than-complementary way in Henry IV Part Two, and musical writers extraordinaire Gilbert and Sullivan also mention it in one of their operettas, the town even pops up in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy during one of Arthur Dent's rants.
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