When Captain Frederick Mallet was charting and surveying the island of Trinidad following its capitulation to the British in 1797, he was told that the village had no name. Observing the women washing clothes in the river, he simply wrote on his survey chart: "Ladies River". Later, the settlers called the place after the washer-women the surveyor had seen, "Blanchisseuse" being the French for "washer-woman".
The difficult terrain meant there was little development or expansion, and no roads. The settlement was a clearing with thick forests and mountains behind and the sea in front.
- Anthony, Michael (2001). Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Md., and London. ISBN 0-8108-3173-2.