Everything started on an overcast November Saturday 1951. Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Breweries, went on a shooting party with friends in the Southeast of Ireland. After missing a shot at a golden plover, Beaver and his friends went to Castlebridge House. There he became involved in an argument if the plover was the fastest game bird. There was no reference book to confirm it. There were no such books in the world back then, anyway. It was three years later when the friends argued over a blackcock that they realized they needed a reference book. Sir Hugh Beaver knew that there must have been hundreds of such arguments in pubs throughout England and Ireland and that a book helping resolve disputes about records might prove successful.
Without any further ado, Sir Hugh hired the McWhirter brothers who ran a respected fact-finding agency. They opened a publishing house at 107 Fleet Street, London and got down to work. The first Guinness Book of Records was bound on 27 August 1955.
However, this energetic and concise title came later because the first reference book released in August 1955 was The Guinness Book of Superlatives. Highest and Lowest, Biggest, Smallest, Fastest, Oldest, Newest, Loudest, Hottest, Coldest, Strongest. The Guinness Book of Records went to the top of the best seller lists by Christmas and never left it.
Today, The Guinness Book of Records is listed by The Guinness Book of Records as the book with the world’s largest circulation of all the copyrighted books. It is second only to the Bible, the Koran and the Mao Tse-tung Quotation Book. The book also set a few more records – it has the world’s shortest commercial of three seconds only. And it is also the most stolen book from the British libraries.