Odense Tugthus (old fashion word for prison) was inaugurated in 1752 and had the function of punishing and disciplining the large group of poor, who earned their living by begging. At the time of the inauguration the house was named “Odense Tugt- og Manufakturhus” which basically can be translated into Odense’s Prison and Factory and it existed until 1949 where its popular name was “Tvangen” (The Forced).
The yellow house still exists today at Klaregade 36 but it houses no prisoners, only offices.
Hans Christian Andersen’s grandmother was married to an inmate of the prison and Andersen went to the house, though only as a visitor. In 1836 his novel O.T. was published. The initials means Odense Tugthus and Otto Thostrup, the latter being the main character of the novel.
In the novel a friendship between Otto coming from western Jutland, and Vilhelm of the Nobel family from Funen, unfolds.
The novel depicts the moods and environment of Denmark in the 1830s.