KM Group archive goes online
Volunteers work on the KM
Group's digital archive project
Thousands of pages from the KM Group's newspaper archive
have gone online today - and there is free access for everyone in
The family-owned firm is the first regional publisher in the
country to digitise volumes of its historic newspapers thanks to a
Your Heritage grant and a dedicated group of volunteers.
Tens of thousands of South Eastern Gazette pages,
the sister paper of the Kent Messenger, from 1852 to 1912
are being put online as a fully searchable archive.
This covers the greatest period of social and industrial
revolution in British history – and an inspiration for the London
2012 opening ceremony.
Moments in Kent's history which feature in the archive include
the day Canterbury Cathedral came close to being destroyed; how the
county mourned the death of Queen Victoria, and when Charles
Dickens helped the injured in a train crash.
A launch event at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham today is
being attended by 200 Kent schoolchildren and members of local
Dockyard plays host to the launch
Project manager Lesley Bellew said she hopes this selection of
pages will be the foundation for adding more dates.
She added: “I hope this is just the start of creating a seamless
archive of KM Group newspapers for the next generation.
“It is a great resource and should prove invaluable to all age
groups from children studying Key Stage 2 to family and local
A group of volunteers spent more than 1,000 hours cataloguing,
cleaning and repairing the pages.
One volunteer, Janet Welch, said: “Usually I am not one for
ironing, but that was part of what we needed to do to get the pages
as smooth as possible in readiness for the digitisation.
"I was a bit slow because I kept getting distracted by reading
the pages and not getting on with the work.”
KM Group editorial director Ian Carter said: "This is the
culmination of a huge amount of work from Lesley and the team of
volunteers, and we are immensely grateful for the time they have
The archive will be accessed via
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