'Playground (The Gutter)' was originally the left section of a larger picture titled 'The Gutter'. The right part, 'Skipping (The Gutter)' is displayed alongside. The canvas was divided into two after the Second World War and a strip of canvas a foot wide removed from the centre. Photographs reveal the removed image as three boys playing with tops and whips. Roberts said that he painted 'The Gutter' because he had heard that artists were being commissioned to paint pictures for a new Cunard or P & O liner. The picture was painted at Haverstock Hill, NW3, which Roberts left in 1935, and signed and incorrectly dated 1936 when later divided.