Going to Work relates to an oil painting of the same title which the artist painted in 1944 for the War Artists' Advisory Committee and which is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum. Asked to paint a view of wartime factory life, Lowry produced a typical industrial landscape of large crowds and factory buildings in which only the barrage balloons make any direct reference to war. He showed hundreds of ant-like figures hurrying to work at Mather and Platt, Ltd., an engineering firm whose factory was at Park in Manchester. Many of the workers would have travelled to the factory by train to nearby Park Station or by bus, hence the two buses seen parked at the right hand side of the scene. The drawing was probably executed at around the same time as the oil and later misdated by the artist when he added his signature (see J. Sandling and M. Leber, op. cit., pp. 76-77).
Lowry was particularly fond of working in pencil, 'I think there's something wonderful about a pencil drawing. I just draw, and rub it with my finger or anything else, and then fiddle with it - I think 'fiddle with it' is the right term - until I get it right. Draw, then start getting tone by your finger, your pencil, india rubber of course, until it has eased up and you get it right' (see A. Andrews, The Life of L.S. Lowry, London, 1977, p. 56). When Lowry gave Going to Work to the present owner as a wedding gift in 1958, he took it from his piano stool in which he stored his favourite drawings.