The farm buliding with cowshed and woodshed

St. Jørgen’s Hospital is home to one of the few preserved cowsheds in Bergen city centre. It is located next to the courtyard, perpendicular to the main building. It is a reminder that the hospital previously had its own farm. The cowshed had space for nine cows, but its interior has since been removed. Hay to feed the animals came from Hospitalsengen, the pasture that surrounded the hospital. The hayloft was on the first floor, above the cowshed. After the hospital stopped farming, at some point in the first half of the 19th century, they leased the pasture and sold the hay. 

There has been a cowshed and barn at the hospital complex since it was rebuilt after 1702, but the age of this building is not known. A number of descriptions and fire insurance assessments suggest that major changes were made in around 1800, and a new building was erected. One of the red-painted doors of the cowshed leads to a gateway to the garden, the healthy ward and the outbuildings at the back. The entrance to the cowshed itself was at the back.

A large woodshed was built at the same time as the cowshed. Firewood was used for both cooking and heating, and a great deal of wood was needed. The hospital’s accounts show that firewood was bought and chopped several times a year. In the 1870s, the woodshed was converted into a workroom and the cowshed started being used as a woodshed. In around 1900, the workroom was described as a carpentry workshop, and is now used as the museum’s dissemination room.

Drawing by architects Lindstrøm and Tvedt 1921. Bergen's Architects' Association, ArkiVest.
Detail of a survey drawing by Lindstrøm and Tvedt from 1921 that shows the fine herringbone doors. Survey drawing by Lindstrøm and Tvedt from 1921. The archive of the National Association of Norwegian Architects, ArkiVest.
The farm building. Photo: Bergen City Museum.
The farm building seen from the courtyard. Originally, the cowshed was situated in the section to the left and the woodshed to the right. The green door to the right leads into what is now the museum’s classroom. This was for a long time a woodshed, then later became a workroom for the residents.

The farm building. Photo: Bergen City Museum.
The red door furthest to the left leads into a storage room, while the double door in about the middle of the building leads to the back garden, where the entrance to the cowshed was.
The farm building, back. Photo: Bergen City Museum.
The rear facade of the farm building and part of the end wall of the main building to the right.
Photo: Bergen City Museum.
Drawing from St. Jørgen's Hospital 1897. Cropped. Bergen City Archive.
On an illustration of the hospital from 1897, it is noted that the northern part of the farm building is used as a carpentry workshop and the southern part for firewood and coal storage. Here, you can also see where the outhouses, or privies, were situated.
Bergen City Archives.
Cowshed and garden in the 1950's. Photo: Gustav Brosing. University of Bergen Library.
The cowshed and the garden in the 1950's. Photo: Gustav Brosing. University of Bergen Library.
The rear side of the farm building at some point in the 1950s. At that point, the hospital’s outhouses had not yet been demolished, and there were a number of fences that separated different areas of the backyard.
Photo: Gustav Brosing. The Universitety of Bergen Library.

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