It was founded in 1859 as the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester & Chatham Gazette. Two years later it became the Maidstone Telegraph, Malling Chronicle and West Kent Messenger; it was renamed the Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph in 1871. It became simply the Kent Messenger in 1930, although some of the variant editions have borne supplementary titles since then (eg the Kent Messenger & Sevenoaks Telegraph).
It was taken over by Barham Pratt Boorman in 1890 and has remained in the hands of the Boorman family ever since, although it’s now formally owned by the KM Group (until recently known as the Kent Messenger Group). The editorial offices are in Maidstone.
A bewildering number of sub-editions have been published during the Messenger‘s history, covering the whole county. Many of them have now taken on (or resumed) a separate identity from the Messenger, although all bear the KM Group’s distinctive yellow-and-black logo with the White Horse of Kent.
As of April 2014 the following editions are published:
- Medway (twice weekly, as the Medway Messenger)
- Sittingbourne (as the Sittingbourne Messenger)
All come out on Fridays (and additionally Mondays in the case of the Medway edition). E-editions are also available online (by paid subscription), and the KM Group also publish a companion Extra series of freesheets.