Of all the elements of Lowry's industrial landscapes, the image of the mill is perhaps the most iconic. In the northern towns and cities the mills dominated both the lives and the views of the people and Lowry's fascination with them became an obsession.
Lowry was surrounded by mills and factories, they were everywhere. He talked about painting the mills in a matter-of-fact way. 'I did the paintings of factories and industrial workers because I lived on the spot. There was nothing much else for me to paint, you see ... But it was much more than that. The industrial scene invaded his life: endless sketching, painting into the night, years spent perfecting each of his works. Lowry found a beauty in the harsh reality of the industrialised community in which he lived and he was compelled to record it' (see J. Sandling and M. Leber, Lowry's City, Salford, 2000, p. 17).