Roker is a tourist resort in Sunderland, bounded on the south by the River Wear and Monkwearmouth, and on the east by the North Sea.
Lowry first visited Sunderland in 1960 when he and his travelling companions had stopped at the Seaburn Hotel, on the sea front, for lunch. This hotel would become Lowry's base for frequent visits to the area over the next fifteen years. Lowry always took a room on the first floor and had the same table next to the window in the dining room, both with a view out over the North Sea.
Sunderland provided the perfect combination as a destination: as the seaside resort at Seaburn and nearby beach at Roker lacked the over-development and commercial exploitation of other holiday towns, a fact Lowry greatly appreciated, whilst retaining the life of a busy industrial port. He remarked that from the Seaburn Hotel, 'you can sense the industry of Sunderland not far away, even though you can't see it (Sunderland Echo, 23 February 1976) and 'I always wanted to live by the sea, but I wanted somewhere near a city and not a health resort' (see A. Hopcraft, 'Lowry revisits his landscapes', Illustrated London News, 9 July 1966, p. 18).
Although by the 1960s much of the industry which had contributed to Sunderland's growth was in decline, there was still a great deal of activity in shipping and shipbuilding around the Wear.