Northampton is a large market town and local government district in central England on the River Nene, and the county town of Northamptonshire, in the East Midlands region. It is the UK’s third largest town without official city status, after Reading and Dudley. In the 18th century Northampton became a major centre of footwear and leather manufacture. The prosperity of the town was greatly aided by demand for footwear caused by the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Shoemaking has virtually ceased, though the back streets of the town still show the pattern of small shoe factories surrounded by terraced houses for the outworkers. Northampton’s main industries now include distribution and finance, and major employers include Barclaycard, Panasonic, Coca Cola & Schweppes Beverages Ltd, and Carlsberg. Northampton is twinned with Marburg in Germany and Poitiers in France.