His large, raincoat body and hat are familiar. The figure standing outside a train station is LS Lowry.

The black and white photo is from the 1950s. And it was in 1953 that the artist completed an oil painting of the same location: Pendlebury train station, on Bolton Road, opposite St. Augustine’s Church.

The station was a mile from the artist’s home in Station Road, Pendlebury, and he used it regularly to commute to Manchester. The painting, which dates from 1953 and is titled The Railway Platform, showed a line of passengers. The jagged canopy hanging over the people on the platform in the painting is a distinctive frieze in yellow brick.

The artist LS Lowry strolling through Pendlebury railway station in the 1950s.(Image: AgeUK Swinton and Irwell Valley History Group)

The last train to stop there was 23.21 from Manchester Victoria to Wigan on 1 October 1960. There were only six people on board, one of whom was a tradesman, Mr Jackson, a 37-year-old tradesman, from Chorley Road , Swinton, who bought the last ticket issued at Pendlebury station. He bought it from the keeper, Mr D White, and it was easy for Swinton.

When the station was closed by British Rail, John F. Kennedy was the President of the United States and Harold MacMillan was the British Prime Minister. But the station began life as part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway’s Pendleton and Hindley line which became (and still exists today as) the Manchester Victoria to Wigan Wallgate line.

LS Lowry’s The Railway Platform, depicting passengers waiting for a train at Pendlebury station. The work sold for £1.6 million in 2015 and has an estimated price of £2 million for auction on March 21 at Christie’s in London.

By 1922 ownership had passed to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and after nationalization in 1949 it became the property of British Railways.

In 2015 The Railway Platform sold at auction for £1.6 million, £300,000 above its estimate at the time. It will be up for auction again at Christie’s on Tuesday of next week, but with an estimated price of up to £2m.


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