The Gladstone Dock was opened in 1913 by George V to provide berths to large transatlantic passenger steamers. During WWII Liverpool served as the headquarters of the Battle of the Atlantic, and both the Gladstone and Albert Docks were bases for Atlantic convoy escorts and minesweepers.
Pitchforth was an official war artist, and this spirited watercolour shows vessels being repaired and refitted, demonstrating the strategic importance of the docks during wartime. Cross-hatchings with crayons in the smoke, clouds and other shaded areas add tonal intensity to the palette. Planks and welding tanks are also visible in the foreground.