A Coronation Street star, two clowns and a six-year-old are connected to Rugby's beloved Hare and Tortoise clock

From the archive: Ben Fawcett switches on one of the Clock Towers centre's feature clocks with a helping hand from clowns Manjy and Mo.
From the archive: Ben Fawcett switches on one of the Clock Towers centre's feature clocks with a helping hand from clowns Manjy and Mo.

After learning the much-loved Hare and Tortoise clock is in storage the Advertiser explored its archives to learn more about the clock's history.

The Advertiser discovered the clock, which has been removed from Rugby's shopping centre as part of a refurbishment, has an interesting history involving Coronation Street star Barbara Knox (who plays Rita Sullivan), a six-year-old boy from Rugby and two clowns.

Barbara Knox presented with a gift at Thornton's.

Barbara Knox presented with a gift at Thornton's.

The clock, which depicts a hare and tortoise following each other around the clock face, was installed on February 20 1995 as part of the launch of Clock Towers shopping centre.

Here is the article written by Arryn Buggins and published in the Advertiser on February 23, 1995:

The crowds came out to welcome Coronation Street star Barbara Knox to Rugby on Monday.

The actress who plays Rita Sullivan was in town to officially open the Clock Towers shopping centre.

She was led by the Delta New Orleans Brass Band and dancers through the streets of the town in a horse-drawn coach before cutting the ribbon at the Market Mall entrance.

The crowds were two or three deep around the town centre and hundreds more in the centre, clamouring to talk to Barbara and ask for her autograph.

Three hopeful young men each presented the Street star with a red rose.

Five shops in the centre gave her presents to take back to fellow Street characters, including budgie seed for Mavis from Wilkinsons and a box of chocolates from Thornton's for herself.

Barbara - who gave a rendition of Oh You Beautiful Doll - said: "I thought it was absolutely charming. You could not buy a reception like that!

"It's very heartening to know that people stand there waiting in the cold and are so pleased to meet you. They all ask about Mavis wherever I go."

Centre manager Mike Hirons said: "I am delighted to say that the refurbishment of the Clock Towers shopping centre has been well received by tenants of the shops within the centre and the people of Rugby. Many complimentary remarks have been made."

Two huge themed clocks were unveiled by six-year-old Ben Fawcett from Westfield First School.

One harks back to Rugby's history as a major railway centre with railway sounds, lights and whistle.

The second depicts the story of a race between the hare and the tortoise.

The celebrations continue until Saturday with clowns Manjy and Mo performing daily and a spot the clocks contest.

The £2 million refit in the three malls where there are 38 shops, includes new glass-sided lifts, toilets, baby changing room, access and facilities for the disabled, glass roof and new entrances from Market Place and North Street.

The Chapel Street exit has been closed to allow more shopping space.