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The pub that will never call time on L S Lowry

To the lunchtime drinkers at Sam's Chop House off Manchester's Cross Street he was simply Mr Lowry: a shy man who liked a half of bitter, a bowl of soup and a cob while relaxing in the old sherry bar during his break from work as a rent collector.

Few could have realised that in future years the industrial scenes he painted of his native Salford were to be worth millions. Yesterday, 35 years after his death, L S Lowry was honoured in his local, where he is still remembered by regulars, with the installation of a life-size bronze statue.

The 300kg sculpture was delivered to the celebrated watering hole by dray wagon before being moved into its eventual resting place at the bar by weightlifters.

Based on an old sketch by his friend Harold Riley recording the day the two men had Christmas lunch together in the early 1970s, it was brought to life by sculptor Peter Hodgkinson whose previous work includes Preston North End legend Sir Tom Finney.

Owner of the city centre pub Roger Ward said he had been inspired to commission the piece after seeing the statue of Ernest Hemingway in bar El Floridita in Havana, Cuba. "Lowry was a regular at Sam's for many years, as his day job as a rent collector was based just around the corner at the Pall Mall Property Company," he said.