St Jørgen’s Hospital’s collection box from 1778 

Collection box from 1778. Photo: Bergen City Museum.

Engraved on this box are the words ‘Hospital collection box 1778’. It is one of two copper boxes in the museum’s collections. 

As an institution that was in operation for hundreds of years, its financial situation and sources of income naturally varied, but from the very beginning until well into the present, St. Jørgen’s Hospital received gifts and donations. It would not appear that donations ever made up a significant part of its income, but for the residents, gifts of money, food and other necessities could make a big difference to their lives, especially when conditions were particularly difficult during periods when the hospital’s finances were tight.

In 1835, it was forbidden to walk around in the church collecting money, and ‘collection boxes’ were instead set up by the doors. 

Accounting books St. Jørgens Hospital 1717. Income from from the hospital's donation boxes. Regional State Archives of Bergen.
The hospital accounts from 1717 list ‘Blocke og Bøssepenge’ (money from the collections boxes) as part of the income. It shows that funds were collected in various locations, including the cathedral, Korskirken (The Church of the Cross) and Nykirken (New Church). One of the hospital’s other sources of income is listed on the right, namely the payments from people who were closely related and entered into marriage.
Regional State Archives of Bergen.
Budget proposal St. Jørgen's Hospital 1934. Bergen City Archives.
Monetary donations from the collection boxes were a source of income that lasted up until the hospital’s final decades of operation. They are shown here in a budget proposal from 1934.
Bergen City Archives, from the archive of St. Jørgen’s Hospital.

The other two boxes in the museum’s collections are an older copper box, and a green-painted one with the inscription “Aarstads Sogns Fattig Bøsse”, the latter was the poor box for the parish of Aarstad, who used the hospital church from 1749 to 1886.
Photos: Bergen City Museum.

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