Prostitution in the 19th century
In the third cell on the first floor cell corridor you will find a small exhibit about prostitution in the 19th century.
All sex outside of marriage was illegal according to the penal code of 1842. Even so prostitution was accepted as a necessary evil. Only the prostitutes could be punished, the clients were not. The Museum of Justice has in its collection several “decency albums” which the police used to register the women.
The women were also forced to visit the police doctor weekly. The examination table from the Christiania police doctor’s office is displayed. This bench was the same that is described in Christian Krogh’s famous novel “Albertine” from 1886.
In the exhibit you can see two so-called visitation books. One of them, a light brown notebook with golden decoration, belonged to Anne Mallene Andersdatter. On the first page a handwritten note describes the owner of the book: “Tall and full og figure, brown hair and blue eyes.”
The book begins with the following instructions (paraphrased):
The owner of this book is required to follow all instructions from the police, to avoid all commotion and anything can might cause public indignation, including walking the streets at night and living in the better parts of the city or close to public institutions. She must not move without first alerting the police and must not be absent from her visitation. Failure to follow instruction will lead to the loss of this book and placement in the workhouse or punishment according to the law’s strictness. The book is to be brought to every meeting at the police station or hospital.