L.S. Lowry and the Bridgewater Canal

L.S. Lowry is now one of Britain’s most recognised and most loved artists but it was not always so.

Born in 1887 to very Victorian parents he spent his whole working life as a property agent for Pall Mall Properties retiring at 65 with his pension well earnt!

For this reason, he was not (initially at least) taken seriously by the Art Critics, particularly those based in London who were wont to dub him as a “Sunday Painter” and many people on first seeing his industrial landscapes with their myriad stick-like figures still say …“My child could do that”.

Well, the truth is that they could not. What appears at first to be somewhat naïve is, in fact, the very opposite. He spent 21 years at Art School in Salford and Manchester, mostly in the evenings learning how to draw and paint. His early drawings show a rare skill in draughtsmanship and it was this base in the technicalities of “Art” that enabled him to develop over the many years he was actively painting and drawing the unique style that is so familiar to us now. His genre was wide, much wider than most people realise, he was an excellent portraitist and landscape artist, he painted seascapes and he told pictorial stories in works such as “Conflict” and “The Fight”

It is not always realised that he was active over a very long time period. 70 years in fact! Those years encompassed two world wars and astonishing changes in our way of life. He saw and recorded sailing ships in Rhyll harbour, super tankers on the river Tyne and he pictured teenagers with mini skirts in the 1960s, as well as old women in traditional widows weeds (black mourning ensemble) in the 1920’s.

Lowry was a frequent visitor to the Bridgewater Canal which was a fairly short tram ride from his home in Station Road Swinton and he produced several drawings and paintings of the well known spots such as the Packet House and the Hump Backed Bridge as well as barges on the Canal. The Lowry Centre on Salford Quays owns the largest collection of his work in the world and is well worth a visit.

Royston Futter is a Green Badge Tourist Guide for the Bridgewater Canal


He gives illustrated talks on L.S. Lowry and on Industrial Heritage as well as on the Bridgewater Canal. Why not check out his tour A Right Royal Ramble.


The Lowry
Skip88, CC BY-SA 3.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0, via Wikimedia Commons