The Birth and History of the Guinness Book of World Records

By | June 4, 2018

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The only book in the world that has been held in high esteem and has gained world- wide achievement recognition for recording record breaking over the years, celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015. The first edition that was set in print and published for the world to see was in 1955.

It all started in the early 1950s at a shooting party held by Sir Hugh Beaver (1890-1967) in County Wexford. Sir Beaver was the Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery. A somewhat heated discussion started about game birds and which of those was the fastest in Europe. Since no one knew the answer and it couldn’t be found in any reference book of birds, the topic was dropped.

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Sir Hugh Beaver (1890 - 1967) (Photo by Edward Miller/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It wasn’t until 1954, when Sir Beaver thought back to the argument he and his friends had at the shooting party as an interesting way of settling pub arguments and promoting his Guinness brewery at the same time. He asked twins Norris (1925-2004) and Ross McWhirter (1925-1975) to put together a book of facts and figures. Using an old gymnasium that had been converted into rooms, Sir Beaver opened offices on the top floor of Ludgate House, 107 Fleet Street and incorporated Guinness Superlatives on November 30th. Ross and Norris both were sports journalists in 1950. In 1951, they published Get to Your Marks. Ross McWhirter and his twin brother, Norris were the co-founders of the Guinness Book of Records.