Cultural History Encyclopedia

More information about this article

More information about this article

Published 07. July 1999

Last update 21. March 2019

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Municipality

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Askvoll nursing home



At Ask in Askvoll municipality, the county of Sogn og Fjordane for more than 40 years provided a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. Tuberculosis was the great scourge during the first half of the 20th century, and a number of homes and sanatoriums were built, where the afflicted patients were given care and treatment. Only after the First World War were effective medicines developed, and the number of tuberculosis cases fell drastically.

Askvoll and western Ask seen from the bay of Olsetvikane, with the nursing home in the middle of the picture.

Askvoll and western Ask seen from the bay of Olsetvikane, with the nursing home in the middle of the picture.

Owner: Dagmar Ask.

Date: Ukjend.

Photographer: Ukjend.

The fight against an epidemic disease

Tuberculosis, or "consumption", which this disease was called, spread rapidly during the 1800s. Increased urbanisation and denser populations exposed people to the infection. Around 1900, the disease caused one in every five deaths. Between 1901 and 1950 180 000 people died of tuberculosis.
Only in 1947 did effective medicines against tuberculosis come on the market. Before that time "curing" was the common treatment. The sick people were told to eat healthy food, rest, and get plenty of fresh air, by the sea or in the mountains. Gradually a number of special hospitals, sanatoriums, for tuberculosis patients were built.

Unsatisfactory building process

In 1909, the question of special homes for tuberculosis patients in the county of Sogn og Fjordane was raised. In accordance with a recommendation from a committee, the "amtsutvalet" (aldermen) of the county council decided to build four such homes, two in the Sogn district, one in Nordfjord, and one in Sunnfjord. Askvoll was chosen as the location for the Sunnfjord home. The building was started soon, and was finished in 1913. It turned out, however, that the communication between the builder and the building committee, where doctors also were members, had failed. There were no rest hall or assembly room, and the isolation between the tuberculosis patients and other patients was defective. Therefore, much extra work had to be done before the building could serve its purpose.

Life at an institution

The rest hall at Ask was called "Kuren" (the Cure), being a separate building with a slanting roof and an opening toward the south. There the patients rested in the open to get sunshine and fresh air. They also had an activity room in the basement, where they made baskets, etc., which were sold in the neighbourhood. The sanatorium kept poultry and had a rowboat, so the patients could catch fish. Milk was bought at the nearest farms. The municipal doctor at Askvoll came on regular visits. For operations the patients were sent to the sanatorium at Luster in Sogn. In addition to tuberculosis, other diseases were also treated at the sanatorium.

From sanatorium to nursing home

Owing to the effective medicines after the Second World War, the need for special sanatoriums for tuberculosis patients subsided. In 1954, the county closed the sanatorium at Ask. The municipality of Askvoll took over the buildings and used it as a municipal nursing home until 1977. Since then the main building has been rented to families.

resources:

Sogn og Fjordane fylkesting. Forhandlingar 1954.
Munnleg kjelde:
Dagmar Ask (f. 1918), Askvoll.
Karlsen, Jan og Skogheim, Dag: Tæring. Historia om ein folkesjukdom. Oslo 1990.
Seip, Hans: Sogn og Fjordane fylke. Eit tilskot til kommunalsoga. Leikanger 1958.