Maidstone is a large, historically important town in Kent, England, of which it is the county town. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river carried much of the town's trade as the centre of the agricultural county of Kent, known as the Garden of England. There is evidence of settlement in the area dating back before the Stone Age. The town, part of the borough of Maidstone, had a population of 107,627 people in 2011. There has been a shift in the town's economy since the Second World War away from heavy industry towards light industry and services.