A first visit to Lunar House

40 Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR9 2BY.

Lunar House was built in 1970 by developer Harry Hyams alongside neighbouring Apollo House and was named to celebrate the moon landing the year before in 1969.It is now used by the Home Office as a Visa and Immigration building where asylum screenings and visa applications take place.

Standing outside Lunar House for the first time, I wrote my thoughts down on my phone as I watched the building and the movements outside it.
My presence felt inappropriate, standing on the edge and watching.
The cold and the wind pushed me away and I left in search of warmth, feeling relieved that I could. 

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The line grows, twisting and turning.

The paving outlines the subtle change between being in the box and being outside the box.

Outside the box people rush by. Some cut the corner and cross diagonally through the box, picking up their pace as they do so.

Inside the box, time is on pause, waiting.

Some people move towards the door on the right, showing their papers and being swiftly shown through.

Others cautiously approach the door on the left.

Their papers are inspected by the guard who opens the door just wide enough to tell them to wait.

Others already know and automatically take their place outside.

The line is still, waiting.

The wind is harsh and bitter and they huddle around the two telephone boxes at the perimeter of the box.

Some stand inside for shelter.

The line gets longer.

One person walks away for a minute and comes back.

Someone else joins the back of the line, checking with the person in front that they are in the right place.

The wind whistles round the corner of the building.

Hoods are pulled up in protection.

Some turn slightly to the side, using their bodies to create their own shelter.

The line grows, following the edge of the box, curving round, always just inside.

The door opens and the guard calls them forward.

The line becomes a group, all moving towards the door.

Someone holds it open for the person behind them, smiling.

The box is empty.

I am alone standing on the outside.

I walk round to the other side of the building.

Everything is quiet.

I step off the pavement and onto the other paving stones, the distinction visible through the differing texture.

Out of the cracks between the paving stones, someone appears to tell me I cannot be there with my camera.

I can step back onto the pavement.

He watches as I step back.

And he disappears again.