Guinness Book of Records
The Guinness Book of Records was first published in 1955 and is the best selling
copyright book of all time. The idea for the Guinness Book of Records came fromSir
Hugh Beaver, the Managing Director of Guinness in the 1950s. On 10 November
1951, Sir Hugh was out with a shooting party in County Wexford when some golden
plover flew overhead. Sir Hugh aimedand missed. Later that evening, a discussion
followed as to which game bird flew the fastest. This gave Sir Hugh the idea of
compiling a ‘fact’ book, which would serve as a definitive reference bookto settle
nightly debates in the 81,400 pubs in Britain and Ireland.
Sir Hugh took his idea to Norris and Ross McWhirter, who ran a fact-finding agency
in London. This led to the publication ofthe first ‘Guinness Book of Records’ in
August 1955. Interestingly, in the very first edition there was no mention of the
fastest flying game bird, even though this was the debate that inspired thewhole
publication in the first place. However, the omission was noted and the details were
given in the second edition.
The ‘Guinness Book of Records’ was published by a sister company of Guinness,initially
Superlatives also published a range of ‘fact’ book including various editions of the
‘Guinness Bookof Answers’, ‘The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles’, ‘The Guinness
Book of Olympic Facts and Feats’, ‘The Guinness book of Golfing’ among others.
Guinness World Records was sold by Guinnessin 2001 to Gullane Entertainment. By
then, the publication was on sale in over 77 different countries and was being
translated into 38 different languages.
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If you have any further questions about the history of Guinness, please contact the Guinness
Archive, Guinness Storehouse, St. James’s Gate, Dublin 8. Email:...