Forging the future of Newham’s Lea River with £1.6m of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Today, Tuesday 9th April, The National Lottery Heritage Fund announces £14.8m in funding to forge a brighter future for the UK’s industrial past and East London’s Cody Dock secures £1,676,987 for its Lighting Up The Lea project.

The seven newly funded projects span the UK from Kent to County Down and Glasgow to the Isles of Scilly, and will reimagine industrial buildings, vessels and sites, protecting this important heritage and giving them a new lease of life at the heart of their communities.

In London, Newham’s history is deeply intertwined with the Lea River, upon which Gasworks Dock Partnership is working to regenerate Cody Dock. More than £1.6m has been awarded to the Lighting Up The Lea project which will restore a Thames Ironworks made historic vessel, construct a new heritage centre for Newham, and deliver a 3-year program of exhibitions, volunteering opportunities and heritage activities.

Workers at Cody Dock restoring the hull of a wooden boat

Through this investment, Cody Dock will significantly contribute to East London’s heritage map whilst also delivering education and skills development, equipping a new generation with valuable skills and preserving and passing on the traditional skills needed to protect our precious heritage.

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

These innovative buildings, trailblazing transport and pioneering technologies shaped our modern world and are core to our rich industrial heritage. They are a connection to the past, but these fantastic projects ensure that this heritage lives on in the future, equipping a new generation with the skills to maintain the fabric of this heritage, and creatively using these sites for new and imaginative uses at the heart of their communities.

What unites these projects is recognition of the heritage value of our industrial past, the incredible stories to be told and committed people. We’re delighted that National Lottery funding ensures that this heritage will be valued, cared for, and sustained, for everyone, now and in the future.

Simon Myers, CEO, Gasworks Dock Partnership adds:

Everyone at Cody Dock is absolutely over the moon about receiving this award and it is a fantastic testament to our team and the thousands of local volunteers who have helped restore Cody Dock and put the Lower Lea River back on the map.

This funding will enable us to preserve the Frederick Kitchen, one of the last boats to be produced at the mighty Thames Ironworks, whose closure in 1912 brought on the demise of ship building in London.  Once restored to its former glory, this historic vessel will form the roof of a new purpose-made building dedicated to the Lea River’s extraordinary history

The Lower Lea is rapidly changing and without wider appreciation and awareness of its incredible history and urban biodiversity we are on track to lose this rich heritage, just as people are rediscovering this under-appreciated corner of London. This funding will quite literally help shine a light on the Lea whilst also producing a new heritage centre for London.

Full project details

Gasworks Dock Partnership is the registered charity leading the regeneration
and development of Cody Dock in Canning Town, London E16. It aims to enable and inspire sustainable communities to emerge and grow by strengthening people’s sense of place and providing opportunities for people to participate and engage with the transformation of the Lower Lea Valley.

This new funding award will enable:

  • An 18 month restoration programme of the Frederick Kitchen
  • Construction of a new multifunction heritage space
  • Delivery of a 3 year programme of quarterly heritage exhibitions

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in our strategic plan, Heritage 2033. Over the next ten years, the Heritage Fund aims to invest £3.6 billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment. The Heritage Fund helps protect, transform and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are. The Heritage Fund is passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Bridge over the river Lea