Today in history: 1 November 1887
Born on this date, Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English artist born in Stretford, Lancashire. Many of his drawings and paintings depict nearby Salford and surrounding areas, including Pendlebury, where he lived and worked for over 40 years.
"The Fever Van" shows an ambulance arriving to collect a patient from a small terraced house. The sufferer probably has diptheria or scarlet fever, both highly contagious diseases and widespread in industrial Britain in the 1930s. A lack of vaccinations meant that such diseases were frequently fatal.
Lowry's treatment of the theme avoids excessive sentimentality; he goes for a distant view of the ambulance and the crowd gathered around it rather than a close-up of the drama. He was clearly interested in the effect of accidents on the urban scene and once said: "Accidents interest me - I have a very queer mind you know. What fascinates me is the people they attract. The patterns those people form, and the atmosphere of tension when something has happened… Where there's a quarrel there's always a crowd… It's a great draw. A quarrel or a body."