Reading is a large town in the ceremonial county of Berkshire. It was an important centre in the medieval period due to the site of Reading Abbey, a monastery with strong royal connections. The town was badly damaged during the English Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade. Reading played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688 with significant military action fought on the town’s streets. The 19th century afforded the arrival of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing, baking and seed growing businesses. Today, Reading is a commercial centre with involvement in information technology and insurance brokering.