Archant Limited is a newspaper and magazine publishing company headquartered in Norwich, England. The group publishes four daily newspapers, around 50 weekly newspapers, and 80 consumer and contract magazines.

Archant Limited
TypePrivate limited company
FounderJacob Henry Tillett, Jeremiah Colman, John and Jonathan Copeman
England, UK
Key people
Lorna Willis (Chief Executive Officer)
ProductsNewspapers, magazines
Revenue£87.2 million (2018)[1]
£+1.7m (Underlying Profit) £-6.63m (Operating Profit) (2018)[1]
Number of employees
Approx. 950

Archant employs around 1,250 employees, mainly in East Anglia, the Home counties and the West Country, and was known as Eastern Counties Newspapers Group until March 2002.


1845 to 1900

The company began publishing in Norwich in 1845 with Norfolk News, backed by Jacob Henry Tillet, Jeremiah Colman, John and Johnathan Copeman. The Colman and Copeman families still retain close involvement in the business.

The Eastern Weekly Press was launched in 1867 and in 1870 was renamed the Eastern Daily Press. A sister title, the Eastern Evening News, was launched in 1882.

1900 to 2000

As the business grew it moved premises in 1902, 1959 and again in the late 1960s to its present headquarters location at Prospect House in the centre of Norwich.

At the end of the 1960s, Eastern Counties Newspapers merged with the East Anglian Daily Times Company, publisher of the East Anglian Daily Times, to form Eastern Counties Newspapers Group (ECNG).

ECNG developed further with the launch of Community Media Limited in 1981, a weeklies publishing operation based in Bath, which launched and acquired titles in Scotland and the West Country.

In 1985, ECNG purchased the East Anglia-based Advertiser group of weekly free newspapers. These businesses operated as separate entities until the mid-1990s when they were brought together under the ECNG banner.

ECNG acquired four weekly newspapers in Huntingdon, Ely, Wisbech and March from Thomson in 1993. The acquisition of Peterhead-based P Scrogie followed shortly afterwards.

In 1995 the company opened a new 25m Print Center in Thorpe, Norwich, with Goss HT70 Presses and Muller-Martini Mailroom Equipment, Replacing the Goss Metro Presses at Prospect House.

The company moved into Internet publishing in 1996 when it launched Eastern Counties Network, a Web-based service using copy from its four daily newspapers as well as original material. Later this was disaggregated into separate websites for each of the newspapers.

In April 1998, ECNG bought Home Counties Newspapers Holdings plc with an agreed bid of approximately £58 million. The bid earned the company the nickname of "The News Corp. of East Anglia". HCNH published a range of 26 weekly paid and free titles across Greater London and the Home Counties. The title portfolio included the Hampstead & Highgate Express, the South Essex Recorder series, the Herts Advertiser series, the Comet series, the Herald group and the Welwyn & Hatfield Times.

Consumer magazine publisher Market Link Publishing, now Archant Specialist, based in Essex was acquired by ECNG for £5 million in autumn 1999. Its titles now include Photography Monthly, Professional Photographer, Pilot, Sport Diver, Complete France, which sponsors a once popular, but failing French forum, French Property News, Living France, and France Property Shop. It also sponsors The France Show at Olympia and The French Property Exhibitions in London and Yorkshire.

2000 to present

Prospect House, the current headquarters of Archant.

The launch of a county magazine in Norfolk in 2000 saw the beginning of what is now Archant Life, the country's biggest publisher of county magazines. The division was subsequently given scale through acquisitions in the North West, the Cotswolds and the South and South East of England.

In March 2002, ECNG changed its name to Archant, prompted by the company's broadening geographic scope and growing range of its activities.

In December 2003, Archant purchased 27 weekly newspapers from Independent News & Media in two separate deals worth up to £62 million. The titles included the Hackney Gazette, Islington Gazette, the East London Advertiser, the Barking & Dagenham Post, the Bexley Times and the Bromley Times.[2]

In April 2007, Archant Scotland's eight newspaper titles were sold to Johnston Press for around £11 million.[3]

In February 2008, Archant acquired Compass Magazines and its four monthly regional magazines in Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey.[4]

In September 2009, Archant Print completed an £8 million project to bring its press centre in Norwich up to ten printing towers with associated equipment.

In November 2009, Archant launched Great British Life, a website portal. In the same month, Archant launched Subscription Save, a dedicated magazine subscriptions portal for their publications.

In May 2010, Archant launched Cambridge First, a weekly newspaper in Cambridge.

In June 2010, Archant acquired KOS Media Publishing Ltd, the publisher of Kent on Sunday and a series of free weekly newspapers, magazines, websites and mobile products, for an undisclosed sum.[5][6]

In February 2011, Archant London launched an all-new news & information website for London – London24.

In May 2011, Archant Life acquired the Wye Valley Life and Life in The Marches titles from Wye Valley Media Ltd.

Archant completed a change to its legal structure to simplify the trading companies into one single legal entity – now called Archant Community Media Limited – in November 2011. This does not change the name of the group which remains as Archant Ltd.

In January 2012, Archant launched the unique iwitness24 community news platform that aims to transform the way it gathers news. It is designed to allow readers to contribute pictures and videos in a quick and easy way.

In January 2013, saw a move into local TV with the launch of Mustard TV online in Norwich.

In August 2013, Archant announced the completion of the acquisition of

In July 2016 Archant announced a new weekly 'pop-up newspaper', The New European, designed in response to the UK's vote to leave the European Union. With a cover price of £2, it was initially intended to run for four editions only;[7]

In August 2017 Mustard TV closed, having been sold to the That's TV Group.

In December 2017, Archant won a €676,000.00 grant from Google's Digital News Initiative. The project, Local Recall, aims to bring 150 years of newspapers back to life through the latest technology; chatbots. Archant, in partnership with local artificial intelligence leaders ubisend,[8] take on this two-year challenge to make their archived newspapers available via voice and text chatbots.[9]

In September 2019 Archant announced its intention to out-source all newspaper printing to Newsprinters (Broxbourne) Ltd. from 10 November 2019, and close the Archant Print Center in Thorpe St. Andrew's Norwich, bringing to an end 174 years of newspaper printing in the city. In a letter to staff, Archant said the decision had been taken due to "changes" in the newspaper industry and the move providing "substantial cost savings".[10] Approximately 95 Norwich Jobs will be lost as a direct result of this change.

In January 2020 Archant sold its headquarters, Prospect House, to regional insurance firm Alan Boswell Group.[11]

In July 2020, Archant announced it had put itself up for sale and was willing to plug a funding deficit exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic's disastrous impact on industry-wide advertising revenues.[12] On August 30, it was announced that the operational units of Archant had been sold to private equity firm Rcapital Partners, (and the pension funds transferred to UK Government Pension Protection Fund); the holding companies were put into administration, making the existing shares worthless.[13]

In March 2022, Rcapital sold the group to American media giant Newsquest.[14]



Online and print magazines include:[15][16]

  • Airgun World
  • Archant Life county magazines:[17]
    • Hampshire Life
    • Kent Life[18]
    • Somerset Life
    • Sussex Life
    • Essex Life
    • Norfolk Magazine
    • Suffolk Magazine
    • Cheshire Life
    • Cornwall Life
    • Cotswold Life
    • Derbyshire Life
    • Devon Life
    • Dorset Magazine
    • East Suffolk Living
    • Exeter & East Devon Life
    • Hertfordshire Life
    • Lancashire Life
    • Life in North Wales
    • Surrey Life
    • West Essex Life
    • Yorkshire Life

Daily newspapers

  • East Anglian Daily Times
  • Eastern Daily Press (EDP)
  • Norwich Evening News
  • Ipswich Star

Weekly paid newspapers

Many of the paid for titles have free online edition (web pages, some also have a digital facsimile of the print edition including advertisements)

Weekly free newspapers

Former newspapers


  1. "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Archant. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  2. "Archant's London deal cleared". Press Gazette. 4 August 2004. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  3. "Johnston acquires Archant's Scottish titles". Press Gazette. 19 January 2007. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  4. "Archant Life expands portfolio with four new magazines". Press Gazette. 27 February 2008. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  5. Archant acquires KOS Media Archived 13 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Archant takes full control of publisher of Kent on Sunday". Media Week. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  7. Worley, Will (3 July 2016). "UK's first ever 'pop up newspaper' to be launched in response to Brexit". The Independent. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  8. "Backed by Google: ubisend and Archant Bring Old Newspapers to Life". 15 December 2017.
  9. "Local Recall - Modernising archive content". December 2017.
  10. "Publishing group to close printworks". 25 September 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  11. "Alan Boswell Group to move into Norwich city centre". Alan Boswell Group. 7 November 2019.
  12. "Coronavirus: New European publisher Archant hunts new owners". Sky News. 4 July 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  13. Twitter, Freddy Mayhew (28 August 2020). "Archant bought by private equity: Shareholders wiped out, government set to take over pension fund". Press Gazette. Retrieved 3 September 2020. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  14. "Newsquest Media Group acquires Archant". Newsquest. 18 March 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  15. "Our Products & Services: Magazines". Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  16. "Our Products & Services: Websites". Archant. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  17. "About us: Our history". Archant. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  18. "Kent Life". Archant Community Media. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  19. About The Hunts Post
  20. "The New European is under new ownership | the New European". Archived from the original on 22 February 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
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