Celebrating 60 Years

Guinness World Records History

Where it all started

The idea for a book of records begins in the early 1950s when Sir Hugh Beaver (1890—1967), Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery, attends a shooting party in County Wexford. There, he and his hosts argue about the fastest game bird in Europe, and fail to find an answer in any reference book.

Sir Hugh Beaver

In 1954, recalling his shooting party argument, Sir Hugh has the idea for a Guinness promotion based on the idea of settling pub arguments and invites the twins Norris (1925—2004) and Ross McWhirter (1925—75) to compile a book of facts and figures. Guinness Superlatives is incorporated on 30 November and the office opens in two rooms in a converted gymnasium on the top floor of Ludgate House, 107 Fleet Street.

Norris and Ross McWhirter

After an initial research phase, work begins on writing the book, which takes 13 and a half 90-hour weeks, including weekends and bank holidays. Little do the McWhirters know that taking shape is a book that will go on to become an all-time best seller and one of the most recognized and trusted brands in the world…

In 2015, Guinness World Recordsthe ultimate authority in record breaking achievements – celebrates the 60th anniversary of its first published edition and the creation of one of the world’s most successful and recognized brands.

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