The Larkfield Society

Where memories are recalled

KM Group History

Over 150 years of history

Charles Dickens published A Tale of Two Cities. Queen Victoria had been on the throne for 22 years. And the Maidstone Telegraph, forerunner of the Kent Messenger, was born.

It was 1859. A loaf of bread was 10 pence (4p). A bottle of gin was 3 shillings (15p). And Maidstone’s new paper cost one penny.

The launch of the paper signified the beginning of the Kent Messenger Group, the county’s premier media group.

Today, over 150 years later, the company continues to publish weekly newspapers, supplements and magazines but also runs websites, radio stations and other media-related businesses.

In fact, because the KM became so deeply rooted in Kent, parts of the county were dubbed “KM Country” – most appropriate for a county that in 1421 was the birthplace of William Caxton, the father of printing!

One of the Group’s titles can trace it’s history back well beyond Queen Victoria – almost 300 years to 1717. That was when the Kentish Post, which became the Kentish Gazette, first rolled off the press in Canterbury.

The Gazette series of newspapers was taken over by the KM in 1980, one of numerous mergers and acquisitions which date back to 1890. But throughout the years of expansion, huge competition and massive technological change the KM has remained in the ownership of one family.

Click here to see KM Group timeline.


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