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Lowry was fascinated by buildings. For him they evoked the lives of their occupants. He felt that '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'. In the 1920s he frequently drew in Salford: 'There were special parts I liked, a bit Georgian, older than the rest. My favourite places were the houses built around factories. They just attracted me more than the others.' Revisiting Orsdall Lane in the 1960s Lowry remembered that as he had drawn in front of the dwelling, 'scores of little kids who hadn't had a wash for weeks would come and stand around me. And there was a niff, too.'

September 2004