Gazette Firsts: The history of The Gazette and insolvency notices

Gazette Firsts Insolvency

As the official public record since 1665, notices about insolvency or companies being wound up are placed in The Gazette daily. As part of our new 'Gazette Firsts' series, we look through the archives at the very first insolvency notices placed in The Gazette.

What are insolvency notices?

The Gazette is the primary source of both corporate insolvency and personal insolvency information in the UK and publishes this information in the form of insolvency notices. These notices are the formal publication of certain insolvency events, and a legal requirement of:

The main aim of insolvency law is to provide a process for the orderly collection of a debtor’s assets and a fair distribution of those assets. Insolvency notices placed in The Gazette allow transparency for the public, the credit industry and concerned individuals to quantify risk, and inform creditors:

  • at what stage of the insolvency process companies or individuals have progressed to
  • details of any forthcoming meetings
  • how to contact the insolvency practitioner for additional information

Insolvency routes covered in The Gazette include:

  • administrations
  • receiverships
  • members’ voluntary liquidations
  • creditors’ voluntary liquidations
  • compulsory liquidations
  • bankruptcy

When was the first insolvency notice placed in The Gazette?

The Gazette was first published on 1 February 1665 (Gazette issue 1), but it was not until the 1705 “act to prevent frauds frequently committed by bankrupts” that it was specifically stated in legislation that insolvency notices must be ‘gazetted’. However, early editions of The Gazette did still contain information about insolvencies, and by the time of the 1705 Act came into force the law was simply catching up to what had already been common practice.

The first example of a notice to creditors published in The Gazette can be found on 13 January 1675 (Gazette issue 1060): “IT is desired by Mr. Thomas Merry the younger, of Gopsall in Leicestershire, That his Father for himself and his Grandchildren; that his Brother Edward and Sister Judith; And that his Fathers Creditors would be pleased to come or send Persons fully instructed and impowered, to Mr Goodenought at his Chamber by the Temple Church, on the 14th day of February next, who will then jointly treat with them for the satisfaction of all their debts and just demands.”

A meeting of creditors notices for a company can also be found as early as 24 January 1677 (Gazette issue 1272): “Whereas the Habitations of many Creditors of Richard Thompson and Company are not known: These are to give Notice, That a general Meeting of all the Creditors is desired upon Friday next, being the First day of February 1677 at the Palsgrave’s Head Tavern Without Temple-Bar, at Three of the CIock in the Afternoon, then and there to consider of a Proposal lately made (at the aforesaid place) to sundry Persons of Quality, and others, Creditors, by Edward Nelsbory, in behalf of himself and Partners.”

The first explicit meeting of creditors for an individual can be found a year later on 13 February 1678 (Gazette issue 1382): “These are to give Notice, That on Wednesday the 16th of February instant, at Mr. Haynes Coffee-house in Birchin-lane, London, at Three of the Clock, in the Afternoon, a General Meeting of the Creditors of John Colvile, late of London Goldsmith, is appointed, at which time and place it is desired, that all the said  Creditors will appear, either by themselves, or by some Person or Persons Authorized to Act for them.”

Where can I see insolvency notices in The Gazette?

You can view all corporate and personal insolvency notices on The Gazette website.

The Gazette also provides a data service which gives access to official intelligence on all UK businesses, corporate and personal insolvencies. Benefits of The Gazette’s data service include:

  • Bespoke reports - tailored around your specific business
  • Geo-targeted editions - available for specific geographical targeting (National, London, Belfast, Edinburgh)
  • Custom filters - specific custom attributes (company number, notice type, key terms)
  • Data at regular intervals - delivered at a rate to match your business needs (daily, weekly, monthly)

For more information on The Gazette’s data service, contact the team on 01603 985949 or email

How do you place an insolvency notice in The Gazette?

As the official public record, notices in The Gazette can only be placed by registered and verified people or organisations acting in an official capacity, who have the authority to create an official record of fact.

To place an insolvency notice you will need to check if you are an authorised notice placer. If you are authorised to place a notice, you will then need to register or sign in to your account.

Take a look at our comprehensive guide on how to submit and publish notices via web form, XML or Excel template directly through The Gazette.

For more information, email or call +44 (0)333 200 2434, 8am to 6pm (BST/GMT), Monday to Friday.

See also

Place an insolvency notice

About The Gazette's data service

The Gazette and its role during events of national significance

The Gazette notices in 2020 by numbers

350 years of The Gazette

Find out more

Insolvency Act 1986 (Legislation)

Companies Act 2006 (Legislation)

The Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016 (Legislation)

The Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (Legislation)

The Insolvency (Scotland) (Company Voluntary Arrangements and Administration) Rules 2018 (Legislation)

The Insolvency (Scotland) (Receivership and Winding up) Rules 2018 (Legislation)

Publication date: 4 March 2021

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.