Connaught Square: Jail Square

Harvey's Brig on Pownal Square, c. 1880 <br> Photo courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office, Acc2320/55-11

Harvey’s Brig on Pownal Square, c. 1880
Photo courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office, Acc2320/55-11

The Square has seen a lot of changes in its long history. As early as 1805, it is thought that a military jail stood on the southeast corner of the Square. A replacement was built in 1810 to plans by John Plaw and this jail was replaced in 1830 with the building pictured. It was known locally as Harvey’s Brig – named after the local jailer. It continued in this role for many years until the 1911 jail was built on Longworth Avenue. In its role as jail yard, it was the site of the last public hanging in the colony where the authorities tried three different times to hang poor George Dowie, a seaman who admittedly murdered another man in a bar fight. Unfortunately for Dowie, they were successful on the last try. It was also where local ball teams went to play ball and children still play. Connaught Square’s huge old trees were damaged during Hurricane Juan in 2003 but new trees were planted and it is slowly returning to its former glory.

 

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