Kent Messenger

Kent Messenger

The Kent Messenger is a local weekly newspaper for the county of Kent in England.

The Kent Messenger grew from the "Maidstone Telegraph" founded in the county town of Kent in 1859, and passed from subsequent owners, the Masters brothers in the 1880s when it was acquired by Barham Pratt Boorman, and it has remained in the Boorman family ever since. It then became the Kent Messenger.


The Kent Messenger is the largest-selling weekly newspaper in the UK. It is the flagship paper of the KM Group, a multimedia company which runs web sites and radio stations as well as publishes newspapers in the county of Kent in South East England.

The paper grew from the Maidstone Telegraph which was founded in the county town of Kent in 1859. It became the Kent Messenger in the 1880s when it was acquired by Barham Pratt Boorman. It has remained in the Boorman family ever since and Barham’s great granddaughter is the current Chairman.

Barham was succeeded by his son, Henry Pratt Boorman, in the late 1920s. Known as The Guv'nor, he was an enthusiast for photography, and pioneered extensive use of pictures in his paper. He realised that people would be keen to buy the paper if it included their picture or pictures of their own towns and villages.

Henry's son Edwin joined the firm in the late 1950s and was managing director from 1962 until 1986. That was when his father stepped down as Chairman and became President of what had developed into the Kent Messenger Group. Edwin took the Chair and remained at the helm until the end of 2005 when he was succeeded by his oldest daughter, Geraldine Allinson.

The firm moved from its original editorial offices and printing plant close to Maidstone East Station in the early 1970s following a fire. The new location is about five miles west of Maidstone, at Messenger House, in New Hythe Lane, Larkfield. During Edwin's Chairmanship the company expanded, acquiring other newspapers across Kent, diversifying into local radio and developing a web presence at

The Kent Messenger currently appears in six editions: County, Maidstone, Weald, Malling, Sittingbourne and Medway, all of which are published weekly on a Friday. Other paid-for titles owned by the Group are: Swanley Messenger, Dartford Messenger, Gravesend Messenger, Faversham News, Kentish Gazette (Canterbury), Whitstable Gazette, Herne Bay Gazette, East Kent Mercury (Deal), Dover Mercury, Folkestone Express, and the Kentish Express, with three editions (Ashford, Hythe and Romney Marsh, and Tenterden). They areall published on Thursdays.

The Group also circulates local editions of its free paper, KM Extra, in most towns in the county. Between 1968 and 2003 the group published a daily evening paper which began as the Evening Post and later became Kent Today.

During the 1990s the company developed an interest in local radio and the world wide web and now has seven 8 radio stations and numerous web sites. It also undertakes contract printing, has a magazine and supplements section, runs a direct delivery service for leaflets and organises exhibitions and events.

The first three of the Group’s kmfm radio stations were TLR (Thanet Local Radio) based in Margate, Neptune Radio, in Dover, and CTFM broadcasting from Canterbury. In 2003 the company acquired two stations from Mercury, one in West Kent, broadcasting from Tonbridge, and the other in Medway, based in Rochester. All five stations were re-branded as kmfm.

After several years of backing RSL projects in Ashford and broadcasting as Lark FM the company won the franchise for a full-time licence and kmfm for Ashford opened in 2005. In 2006, CTR (County Town Radio, broadcasting in Maidstone) was added. The Group also operates kmfm Digital, a countywide DAB service which shares many of the networked programmes broadcast on FM.

The KM Group’s first web site, the Kent countywide site , was launched in 1998. In additional to KentOnline, nine local sites were created in 2008 to offer ultra local news to each of the areas the newspapers serve. They are,,,,,,, and

External links

* [ KM Group website, KentOnline]
* [ kmfm radio website]
* [ Kentish Express Website for Ashford and surrounding areas]
* [ Kentish Gazette Website for Canterbury and surrounding areas]
* [ East Kent Mercury Website for Deal, Dover and surrounding areas]
* [ Dartford Messenger Website for Dartford and surrounding areas]
* [ Gravesend Messenger Website for Gravesend and surrounding areas]
* [ Kent Messenger Website for Maidstone and surrounding areas]
* [ Medway Messenger Website for Medway and surrounding areas]
* [ Sheerness Times Guardian Website for Swale and surrounding areas]
* [ Thanet Extra Website for Thanet and surrounding areas]
* [ More information on the KM Group's history]

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