From Academic Kids


Missing image
View from Basingstoke railway station forecourt; the chrome yellow buildings stand on the site of older office buildings that have been demolished to build apartments.

Basingstoke is a large town in the county of Hampshire in the south of England. In 1998 it had a population of 90,000. Basingstoke is a prosperous town with an above-average standard of living and low unemployment. It is a financial centre, and the location of the headquarters of the Automobile Association and Sun Life Financial of Canada (not to be confused with Axa Sun Life) in the UK. Other industries include drug manufacture, insurance and electronics.



Town Centre

A new shopping centre - Festival Place opened in autumn 2002, adding a huge boost to the town centre. Aside from a wide range of shops, including department stores BHS, Debenhams and Marks and Spencer, there is also a range of cafés and restaurants as well as a large multi-screen Vue cinema (formerly Ster Century until their takeover in 2005).

Basingstoke town centre also has two theatres: the Haymarket Theatre (, and the newer Anvil ( concert hall.

Leisure Centre

Outside of the town centre there is a leisure park featuring the Aquadrome ( swimming pool, an ice rink, Bowling Alley, and a Vue Cinema. The leisure park is home to the Milestones Museum which contains a network of streets and buildings based on the history of Hampshire.


Basingstoke has its own football team, Basingstoke Town F.C. who currently play in the Nationwide Conference South. The rugby club play in Rugby Football Union's National 3 South League, and the Basingstoke Bisons hockey team play in the British Elite Ice Hockey League.


Basingstoke has two large further education colleges: a sixth form college, Queen Mary's College (QMC) and Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT). There are many large secondary schools in the area.

Geographical location

Basingstoke is situated in the north of Hampshire, in the district of Basingstoke and Deane. It is 72km (45miles) west-southwest of London. It has excellent road and rail links, making it popular with commuters: London Waterloo can be accessed in roughly 45 minutes by train, and there is easy access to the M3 and M4 motorways.

Position: Template:Gbmapping

Nearby towns and cities: Andover, Newbury, Reading, Winchester

Nearby villages: Aldermaston, Alton, Baughurst, Bramley, Hook, Kingsclere, Oakley, Old Basing, Overton, Silchester, Tadley, Whitchurch.

History of the town

Basingstoke has existed as a small market town since the Anglo-Saxon period, and is listed in the Domesday Book as a royal manor. The ruins of the Tudor palace of Basing House can be found two miles east of the town centre, in Old Basing. Population growth has been rapid since its designation as a London overspill town in 1961: in 1951 there were only 16,000 inhabitants. Today it is famous for having a large number of roundabouts.

In the late 1960s, Basingstoke town centre was completely rebuilt. At this time many buildings of historic interest were replaced by a large concrete shopping centre. The brutalism of the town's architecture, and its perceived status as a haven for accountants and those with other occupations considered "boring", have led to Basingstoke becoming a comedic archetype for the soullessness of many modern British towns. It remains to be seen whether the opening of the new Festival Place shopping centre will do anything to soften this image and part the town with its "Boringstoke", "Basingjoke" and "Basingrad" nicknames.

Basingstoke railway station is the junction between the South Western Main Line railway, built by the London and South Western Railway, and the Reading to Basingstoke line, built by the Great Western Railway.

References to Basingstoke

In the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Ruddigore, the word Basingstoke is a sort of soothing charm which Sir Despard Murgatroyd intones to Mad Margaret when she seems in danger of getting agitated, presumably an indication that the town even then was considered boring and respectable.(Although she says the word is "teeming with hidden meaning" the audience would have known better.)

Basingstoke also gets a mention in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "How did we get here?" he (Arthur) asked, shivering slightly. "We hitched a lift," said Ford. "Excuse me?" said Arthur. "Are you trying to tell me that we just stuck out our thumbs and some green bug-eyed monster stuck his head out and said, Hi fellas, hop right in. I can take you as far as the Basingstoke roundabout?".

Even Shakespeare pokes mild fun at Basingstoke, with a line in "Henry IV" (part 2). From act 2 scene 1:
Lord Chief-Justice: "I have heard better news."
Falstaffe: "What's the news, my good Lord?"
Ch-Just: "Where lay the King last night?"
Gower: "At Basingstoke, my Lord"
Fal: "I hope, my Lord, all's well: what is the news, my Lord?"

Twinned towns

Basingstoke is twinned with

Famous people

Famous people who were born in, or lived in, the Basingstoke area:

See also

Category:Basingstoke - listing of wikipedia entries to do with Basingstoke

External links


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