On 4 May 1909 Lowry and his parents, Robert and Elizabeth, moved from Manchester's affluent Victoria Park to 117 Station Road, Pendlebury, a four-bedroomed, four-storey Victorian semi-detached villa in the countryside beyond the city. The move was instigated for financial reasons and the family hated the new surroundings and their loss of social standing. Here Elizabeth Lowry began to gradually withdraw from society into the bed-ridden invalid that she would become, eventually requiring her long-suffering son to nurse her day and night.
Later Lowry acknowledged the move to Pendlebury as the source of his artistic inspiration, 'I had lived in the residential side of Manchester - a very nice residential side - and then I went to live in Pendlebury - one of the most industrial villages in the countryside mid-way between Manchester and Bolton. At first I detested it. And then, after a few years, I got pretty interested in it and began to walk about. Vaguely in my mind I suppose pictures were forming, and then for about thirty-odd years after that I did nothing but industrial pictures. That is how it all happened. I wasn't brought up in it' (see S. Rohde, L.S. Lowry A Biography, Salford, 1999, pp. 81-86).
In the present work, Lowry features St. Mary's Church, demolished in 1964, and the Albion Mill that stood opposite. In a similar work from 1941, Albion Mill, the mill building features prominently in the composition, and many figures fill the foreground (see J. Sandling & M. Leber, Lowry's City A Painter and his Locale, Salford, 2000, p. 25).