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.View our timeline
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.
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.
*The fastest game bird is the golden plover, in case you were wondering!