The Old Market stands behind the Market House (built-in 1810 to replace a 1770 building) at the end of King George V Street, and Long Street, along which imported slaves were marched in irons either to be sold to plantation owners or where the Maroons (runaway slaves) were publicly executed. In the centre is an orange painted cast-iron fountain, still bearing the Royal coat of arms, perched over an old well. It was originally called La Place (its Creole name) and flourished since the days of the French occupation. Besides slave auctions, executions and other public punishments, it has also been the site of political rallies.
According to Joseph Sturge (1793-1859), founder of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, writing in 1837: ‘Many were brought to Roseau and butchered in cold blood; and there is a well there, which though of sweet water, and in the centre of the market place, remains unused to this day, from a belief that it is defiled with the blood of these unfortunate people.’
In 1895 the Dominican philanthropist, Edward Sheriff Daubiney left £500 in his will to create a covered area. This area now houses stalls for street vendors selling colourful tee shirts, craft and souvenirs to tourists, in particular the cruise passengers who disembark from the nearby jetty. Benches have been placed around the square, and trees planted.