“A man came to our yard and said that he just wanted to ask, out of curiosity, what’s in this house now. He said that he used to spend a few nights here when he was working at sea in his time. And there were even more people, when we moved here, there were people who visited. It was great to hear their stories.”
Seppo Manner and Taina Rantala are sitting in the living room of their mansard-roofed home and talking about their life in one of the best-known houses at the port. The building, constructed in 1911, has been a restaurant pavilion, a police station and a sailors’ home. The couple moved in 30 January 1996.
The building has room for both Manner and Rantala’s home and the offices of their construction company. The port area has proven an excellent place to live in. Through their living room window, they have been able to observe both cultural events and the reception of high-level international guests.
The couple has heard stories of the time when the building was a police station.
“After the war, the Finnish security and intelligence services were holding this entire building. I’ve heard that when Lauri Törni arrived in Turku on a ship from Sweden, he was arrested, caught at the port and brought here. There where we now have a sauna, there used to be a cell there."
Renovating the building also involved surprises.
"This house is largely made of ornamented panels. And there at the backdoor, for example, in the entrance hall, the wall has been painted and there’s a spot in the panel, and copper wires have been painted into the grooves in the board."
The couple has wondered if there used to be listening devices hidden in the wall. They have not found the answer yet.
- Photography: Ville Mäkilä, Museum Centre of Turku