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Alton, Hampshire was the site of the notorious murder of Fanny Adams in 1867, which gave rise to the phrase "Sweet F.A.".

The paper mills, which joined the breweries as the main industries of Alton in the 18th century, have since closed. Coors, one of the ten biggest brewers in the world, has a brewery in Alton. Alton has large retail and service industries and an industrial park.

Jane Austen lived and died just outside Alton, and worked on several books there. Other notable residents of Alton include Iona and Peter Opie, who were pioneers in the academic study of children's games and stories, and whose collection of children's literature is now with the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.

In the Domesday Book, Alton is noted as having the most affluent market.

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