Sunrise at the Marine Station
On 8 December, the modernist building of the Marine Station will celebrate its 87th birthday. Put into use in 1933, it served city residents and tourists for many a decade. The station was a witness to joyful moments and numerous tragic events. Every year, on the building’s opening anniversary, great birthday celebrations used to be organised. This year, due to sanitary reasons, we will celebrate it differently.
The architecture of the station was prepared in 1932 by the Dyckerhoff & Widmann SA company, and the building was officially put into use as soon as on 8 December 1933. The facade of the station has clear features of modernist architecture, with references to the so-called Polish Art Deco style. During that time, it was one of the most modern facilities of this type in Europe. The use of fine finishing materials, i.e. ceramic tiles, bent balustrades, glazings, proved to be timeless and has been enchanting the viewers with their universalism to this day.
The building used to consist of two parts, namely, of a passenger hall and a transit warehouse. The main structure of the station housed an information point, ticket offices, a post office, a luggage room, doctors’ offices, restaurants and waiting rooms. On the warehouse’s lower floor, there were further areas intended for luggage. On the upper floor covered with arched roof, there was a luggage hall and a passenger check-in hall.
Until the outbreak of the war, hundreds of thousands of people passed through the building. In the interwar period it was also where New Year’s Eve balls and sports events used to be organised. The role of the station did not change following the war; however, the sea passenger traffic was not as high as it once was. The building’s heyday ended in 1988, when “Stefan Batory”, the last Polish ocean liner, set off on its ultimate voyage. The renovation of the station commenced in 2013, and it was decided that the Emigration Museum would be established under its very roof so as to commemorate the extraordinary history of the building that witnessed numerous tragic events and accompanied many people in their last journey whilst they were leaving the country. The museum’s exhibition was officially opened in May of 2015. This very facility is the first one in Poland to present the collections, narrations and stories devoted to the fate of Polish emigrants and the achievements of the Polish diaspora scattered all over the world.
This year, for the celebrations of the Marine Station’s birthday, the Emigration Museum has recorded a radio drama the events of which are set in the historic building in… 2040. Anna Wakulik, the author of the text, presents the interwoven fates of the protagonists of the audio play who are connected by means of dynamic relationships. The radio drama entitled “Jeszcze jeden wschód słońca” [“One more sunrise”] will be available starting from 8 December on Emigration Museum’s YouTube channel.
Photo: Chris Niedenthal