The Guinness Brewery was founded in 1759 at St James' Gate in Dublin, Ireland, by Arthur Guinness. By the 1930s Guinness' special porter stout was available in every public house in Britain, and the brewery was always on the look-out for good promotional ideas to bring the Guinness name to the public's attention. One of these ideas came about when Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director, went on a shooting party in 1951. He became involved in an argument about which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the golden plover or the grouse, and he realized that a book, published by Guinness, that supplied answers to this sort of question might prove popular. He was right!
Sir Hugh's idea became reality when the McWhirter twins, Norris and Ross, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London, were commissioned to compile what became The Guinness Book of Records. The first edition was published in 1955 and went to the top of the British bestseller lists by Christmas that same year.
Since then Guinness World RecordsTM has become a household name and the book has sold more than 80 million copies in 77 different countries and 38 different languages. It has also prompted successful television shows around the world, and the launch of the guinnessworldrecords.com website in the year 2000.
And the story continues. Every year, thousands of people from around the world contact Guinness World Records Ltd in the hope of becoming an official Guinness World Record holder. Many of them do.