People who suffer from psychological diseases have always been “taken care of”. But what kind of care have the ill people received? In the early 19th century it was believed that the opportunity to take walks in a beautiful garden could be of some help to the ill. In 1815 the hospital purchased an ajacent meadow, and Bergen Mental Hospital was newly built with gardens in 1833.
Many women have made a living working as prostitutes in Bergen. Prostitution has always been regarded as both shameful and illegal. Still, turning to this profession has provided many women with the best income possible in Bergen, where customers like sailors and merchants have always been available. In the nineteenth century two of the most well known brothels were found in Nøstegaten: Vestindien and De Fire Løver.
Doctor Wiesener’s public bath house opened September 7. 1889, the year after the death of medical doctor Joachim Wiesener. The bath house was erected in grateful memory to the doctors professional work and for his valuable contributions to the community. Locally initiated, the bath house was erected for the benefit of "the less fortunate" as well as in fond memory of the good doctor. Today the building is home to a pub that promotes neighbourly friendship.
The sailors’ poor house – De Sjøfarendes fattighus – is one of several historical poor houses in Bergen. Traditionally convents ran these social institutions. After the Reformation the convents were no longer able to continue their charitable work, and caring for the old, sick and poor turned into a major challenge for society. The sailors’ poor house was initiated by the City Council in 1571.
St Jørgen’s Hospital was a leprosy hospital with a history that goes back to the Middle Ages. The hospital was most likely originally built by the nearby Nonneseter Convent. The hospital received testamentary gifts in 1411, but we do not know how much older the hospital might be. The last two patients at St Jørgen’s Hospital both died in 1946, after which it ceased to exist as a health institution. Today's buildings date back to the 18th century, and is administred by the Bergen City Museum.
St Katarina’s hospital was as far as we know the first health care institution in Bergen. It was built at Sandbro during the first part of the 13th century. The hospital burnt during the city fire in 1248. It was rebuilt behind the Cathedral in 1266 and stayed a hospital for leprosy patients, a poor house and a hospital for other gravely sick people until 1771.
The Bedlam was a public nursing institution for mentally ill people. The Bedlam, which was started in 1762, was probably a place for the keeping rather than the nursing of the ill. Either way it was an improvement to the care offered to the mentally ill in the past – the basement under the Town Hall, right next to the prison.
Childbirth has always been associated with danger for the life and health for both mother and child. A number of complications may arise in the process. When the combined midwife school and birth clinic was established in Bergen in 1861, the vast majority of children were born at home, with family and friends to help them into the world.