Our history

Guinness World Records - originally the Guinness Book of Records - the ultimate authority on record-breaking achievements, started out as an idea for a book of facts to solve arguments in pubs.

The idea came about in the early 1950’s when Sir Hugh Beaver (1890—1967), Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery, attended a shooting party in County Wexford.
 

There, he and his hosts argued about the fastest game bird in Europe, and failed to find an answer in any reference book.

In 1954, recalling his shooting party argument, Sir Hugh had the idea for a Guinness promotion based on the idea of settling pub arguments and invited the twins Norris (1925—2004) and Ross McWhirter (1925—75) who were fact-finding researchers from Fleet Street to compile a book of facts and figures.
 
Guinness Superlatives was incorporated on 30 November and the office opened in two rooms in a converted gymnasium on the top floor of Ludgate House, 107 Fleet Street.
 
From left to right: Sir Hugh Beaver, the first Guinness World Records book, Ross and Norris McWhirter, Norris McWhirter
After an initial research phase, work began on writing the book, which took 13 and a half 90-hour weeks, including weekends and bank holidays. Little did the McWhirters know that taking shape was a book that would go on to become an all-time best seller and one of the most recognized and trusted brands in the world…
 
Over 60 years on, and the trusted Guinness World Records brand is a beloved household name. The book continues to be a best-seller each year, enjoyed through the generations. Beyond publishing, we are now a multi-media brand agency with a wide range of products and services, and a key presence across Digital, Events, and Business Solutions.