Kentish publisher’s archive saved for local history



In June 2022 Mail Publications Limited, a local news publisher near Maidstone, Kent, entered into liquidation. Founded in 1997, the firm was a supporter of campaigns in the Maidstone and Malling area. The company’s main title was Downs Mail, referring to The North Downs hills overlooking the paper’s distribution area.


  • Maxwell Davies, liquidators acted on best practice guidance on historical records at risk. They called Richard Wiltshire of the Crisis Management Team (CMT) on 21 June 2022. They informed him of the company’s imminent liquidation the following week.
  • Richard contacted Mark Bateson at Kent Archives and Local History, who went to survey the records on 24 June. Six days later, Kent Archives and Local History with help from the company’s co-founder and co-owner Claire Proctor, collected material for safekeeping.


An almost complete set of Downs Mail, along with minutes and financial records were presented as a gift to Kent Archives and Local History by Maxwell Davies, liquidators. Sadly, the firm’s photographic collection had been disposed of some years before.

 Lessons learnt

  • Speed is of the essence in insolvency cases. Premises are usually sold or given up quickly. Historical material can be in immediate danger of disposal.
  • The liquidator acted on guidance promoted by the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA). In 2021 the CMT met with the IPA to raise awareness to administrators and liquidators of businesses of records at risk. The IPA placed a link on their website to the CMT’s best practice and published an article in their newsletter.
  • Thanks to the IPA, Maxwell Davies’ call and actions taken by Kent Archives and Local History, the archives will be preserved for posterity for research and a lasting publishing legacy

For more on this story, see our guest blog on the IPA website.

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Mark Bateson collecting records
Mark Bateson collecting records
Downs Mail
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