This is the Heatherwick Studio’s Rolling Bridge in Paddington basin. It was commissioned in 2004 and needed to be a footbridge that would allow a crossing for local workers and residents but crucially could also move out of the way completely to allow boats to moor in the inlet.
It's a system of hydraulics that opens and closes the bridge which are fitted into the balustrade. It's a beautiful thing to watch as it appears so graceful for something that is so functional. The bridge can be stopped at any point of the 'curl' but generally there's no need and the operator will open stop it when fully open or fully closed.
When fully open, and across the inlet, people are allowed to walk over so do run round and try it. It's very stable for such a temporary structure. Once it's been used for a few minutes, and there are no people trying to cross, the second member of staff blocks the way for safety - remember you can still walk around the canal path - and the bridge curls back up.
With only a couple of days left in London Carolyn is out hitting the shops again and has just caught the bus down to Harrods. She said she was only going to look around…..Well that would be a first !!