History of the ‘Spital Apotheke’

Spital History 1486

‘Heiliggeistapotheke’ (Pharmacy of the Holy Spirit) project (1486)

The first pharmacy in the Heiliggeistspital hospital was first considered on Thursday, 14 March 1486, just after St. Gregorian day. Hans Gartner the Elder, Sebald Schreyer and Hans Ingram from Nuremberg and Hans Münzmeister from Bamberg, who were executors of the late Georg Keyper from Nuremberg who had died two years earlier, had founded their own trust to appoint a doctor for the Heiliggeistspital. After the trust’s rather modest capital increased in the following years, the appointment of a wound doctor was planned and, following further favourable developments in the trust’s finances, plans were drawn up to found a pharmacy with its own pharmacist. This ‘Pharmacy of the Holy Spirit’ project is, without a shadow of doubt, the first mention of the pharmacy and not the date that it was founded, which is what 18th century literature claims. This is because Georg Keyper’s executors certainly could not have afforded it in 1486.


Spital History 1497

Assessment for a pharmaceutical institute (1497)

The foundation of a pharmacy in the Heiliggeistspital was not possible until 1497. But this plan came back to life on 26 August that year: The town council asked Hans Berckmeyster, a pharmacist at the Dominikanerkloster monastery, to complete a professional assessment of how best to set up a pharmaceutical institute at the Heiliggeistspital and how to find the staff.


Spital History 1498First evidence of the launch (1498)

But it took almost a year until the idea came to fruition. The trust’s capital in 1486 proved so financially inadequate that the town council declared on 8 May 1498 that it would provide a subsidy of 500 guilders from public funds. Just one week earlier, on 1 May, Michel von Speyer became obliged to five years working as a trainee pharmacist at the Heiliggeistspital, another piece of evidence that the pharmacy was now in business. And, this fact is also confirmed by the expenditure of 9 pounds 28 pence – six days’ wages – that can be seen on invoices belonging to the Heiliggeistspital dated ‘sabato post Petri et Pauli’ (30 June) 1498 that were paid out for building work on an arch planned for the pharmacy. At first, the ‘Pharmacy of the Holy Spirit’ in Nuremberg probably only supplied patients at the hospital. It must, however, have been in the interest of every pharmacist to move away from prioritising the treatment of hospital patients and to embark on their own business venture. But this was not possible until the town council agreed to privatise this pharmacy.


Spital History 1609

Pharmacist Georg Mayer (1609)

In 1609, just before the Thirty Years’ War, pharmacist Georg Mayer had tried to improve his unhappy private and financial situation in an agreement with Heiliggeist nurse Christoph Fürer. His annual pay was 32 guilders at the time, was presumably unmarried, but was given free food and board at the hospital. He ate at the hospital manager’s table together with the scribe and the head horseman. After ten years’ service as a hospital pharmacist, Georg Mayer now wanted to marry and demanded a pay rise to 150 in guilders if he gave up the free food. But the town council refused this request and denied him the chance to rebuild the pharmacy ‘Spital Apotheke’.


Spital History 1635Privatisation of the pharmacy ‘Spital Apotheke’ (1635)

The same hospital nurse, Christoph Fürer, sold all materials and medication in the pharmacy to Georg Strauch for 3,228 guilders and 41/4 kreuzer on 17 April 1635. The chattels, boilers and other devices were only given to Strauch on a rental basis. This privatisation of the ‘Spital Apotheke’ must be seen closely within the context of Nuremberg’s financial crisis in that period: The pressures of being quartered by the Swedish since 1632 and resulting battles took such a toll on the town and its finances that any sum of money was welcome to ease the economic crisis.


Spital History 1856

Pharmacist Carl Ludwig Ernst Eckart from Emskirchen (1856)

The ‘Spital Apotheke’ was sold to the Eckart family in 1856 after being in the hands of several families, amongst whom only the Beurers (1710–1754) and the Lindners (1766–1801) passed it on through the generations. On 27 February 1856, Emskirchen pharmacist Carl Ludwig received this pharmacy from the magistrates of Nuremberg. He had bought the company for 68,000 guilders the same year with Adolph Rosenhauer, previously the manager of the ‘Spital Apotheke’.


Spital History 1858

Sole proprietor (1858)

After Rosenhauer quit in 1958, Carl Ludwig became the sole proprietor.


Spital History TodayThe fifth generation (today)

Today, the fifth generation of the Eckart pharmacist family from Emskirchen is in charge of the ‘Spital Apotheke zum heiligen Geist’ (Spital Pharmacy of the Holy Spirit).
Spital Pharmacy of the Holy Spirit in Nuremberg