Lowry commented on the compulsion he felt in depicting the urban landscape he knew and loved, 'The buildings were there and I was fascinated by the buildings. I had never seen anything like them before. But I was fascinated by the people who lived and worked in them. A country landscape is fine without people, but an industrial set without people is an empty shell. A street is not a street without people ... it is as dead as mutton. It had to be a combination of the two - the mills and the people - and the composition was incidental to the people. I intend the railways, the factories, the mills to be a background' (see J. Spalding, Lowry, London, 1987, p. 31).
Lowry was drawn to the unusual and the absurd, but he was not always topographically accurate in his compositions. The enormous chimney situated next to the mill which dwarfs the structure could not have possibly stood so high, but giant chimneys do feature in the artist's work, and serve to give a sense of oppression (see M. Leber, Lowry's City A Painter and his Locale, Salford, 2000, p. 10).