Collection box for donations to St. Jørgen’s Hospital 

Collection box for donations to St. Jørgen’s Hospital. Photo: Bergen City Museum.

The large collection box is about 105 cm high and 65 cm wide. It is made of pine and has two compartments. The upper compartment is for coins, and the slots for this can be seen on top of the lid. This upper part could only be unlocked using three separate keys. Presumably, three people each had their own key and thus had to open the box together. The lower compartment is larger and has a door with a lock. Some people believe that this may have been used to donate food rather than money. 

The large collection box may originally have stood inside the church and may have been placed outside the church on certain days, but this remains uncertain. Some sources mention that, in 1825, it was forbidden for the residents to ‘call on passers-by to put gifts in the boxes on the sabbath and holy days’, and in 1865, the custom of putting out collection boxes appears to have come to an end. 

The large collection box now stands in the main ward. It can be seen in the photo from the 1930s that was taken while residents were still living at St. Jørgen’s. 

The hospital’s 19th-century house rules describe how what were known as the rådsmennene, who perhaps can best be compared to elected representatives among the residents, assisted in the distribution of the gifts that came in. Any food received was distributed directly to those living at the hospital, while any monetary gifts ‘are deposited in the large money box’. Could this be the very one?

Collection box for donations to St. Jørgen’s Hospital. Photo: Bergen City Museum.
On the top of the collection box are two slots for depositing coins.
Photo: Bergen City Museum.
Main ward, St. Jørgen's. Photo: Domenico Erdmann. Directorate for Cultural Heritage.
This photograph from the 1930’s shows the collection box standing up against the wall to the left in the hopsital’s main ward.
Photo: Domenico Erdmann. The Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

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