Why Volunteer?

Cody Dock is one of the last remaining brick-lined docks in London. We are transforming this place, abandoned and neglected for decades, to what it used to be – a lively neighborhood where people could enjoy, live and work. If you are up for a challenge and feel like being part of our restoration project is something you are looking for, join our volunteer team. Get to know like minded people, try something new, have fun with the team, meet Wolfgang, and get dirty!

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Another brick in the wall!

Your chance to rebuild the Dock and strengthen the local community

Cody Dock was once the heart of a huge gas works which used coal to produce power for heating and lighting for much of East London.

It was here that coal mined in the North of England was unloaded by crane from shallow barges which had sailed up the River Lea and then taken by conveyor belt to the gas works.

150 years ago the dock must have been a chaotic, dirty and noisy place. The workforce lived in terraced houses nearby and photographs show large numbers of women working in the gas works especially during the First World War when women were doing men’s work.

Over the years the gas works were modernised with new machinery and cranes being installed especially in the 1950s. The houses close by were demolished and workers had to travel further to work. In the 1970s with the introduction of natural gas from the North Sea the gas works closed down and were demolished,the site becoming neglected and forgotten.

The dock however remains.

It was rediscovered in 2004 and since then its restoration has been ongoing. Many of the Victorian bricks on the sides of the dock need to be replaced before It can be refilled with clean water and brought back to life.The plan is that the dock will be used to moor houseboats for people to live on and there will be a dry dock. Artists studios are being built along the dock and there will be facilities for school visits, water sports and community events.

Cody Dock is working at every stage in the dock restoration to conserve and encourage nature in this precious, magical oasis along the River Lea.

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One of our biggest projects, which we started in 2019, is the restoration of our Victorian brick-lined Dock. The ultimate goal of the Dock Restoration project is simple – to give the space back to the community making it a lively neighbourhood just as once was, creating a space where people can live, work and enjoy their time off.

Become part of a team of enthusiastic volunteers and be part of local legacy to help reactivate this once thriving Dock.

Join our team, try and learn traditional methods of mainsonary and get closer to the history and heritage of East London.

You will have to get a little bit dirty sometimes, put the waders on and get to the Dock, there will be plenty of opportunities to work with traditional techniques, hand and power tools. The area around the Dock needs constant maintenance that includes cutting of undergrowth damaging the walls of the Dock and the foundation of the dry Dock we laid a few years ago.

This project will definitely keep you busy!

No experience needed, training, personal protective equipment and tools provided

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Find out more

Sessions are on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays 10am-3pm. To book a session fill in this form indicating the date(s) you want to come along.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

No experience necessary. All sessions are facilitated by Cody Dock’s volunteer coordinators. All Personal Protective Equipment provided.

Meet Wolfgang

Project manager for Dock Restoration

You can find Wolfgang at Cody Dock every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, working with volunteers on our Dock restoration.

What you should know about Wolfgang is he is IN LOVE with the project! He joined the team in 2017 as a volunteer. After training and a few months working alongside Neil Hayman who has 40 years of experience in the industry and is a teacher at Newham Craft College in London, he became a lead on the Dock Restoration project. Since 2019 he’s been delivering sessions to volunteers of all ages and levels of experience. He is a dedicated and patient teacher, if you are up for a new challenge in your life then he’s the right person!

We’ve asked him a few questions to give you a better idea of what kinda person you will work with 🙂

1. What do you love about Cody Dock?

I love what Cody Dock is doing: bringing back to life a derelict site and turning it into a useful local community space for the arts and education. I’ve had great times here getting involved in all sorts of different stuff over the last three years such as: citizen science projects, testing water quality and joining in with wildlife surveys; helping out at events like the Duck Race and Halloween, and of course over the last year I’ve loved learning a whole lot of new skills and putting them into practice in the dock wall repair project.

2. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I haven’t been asked that in a long time! A member of International Rescue, either Brains or Virgil, the pilot of Thunderbird 2.

3. What is your favourite thing to do on a sunny day?

A visit to Greenwich probably comes top. A walk in the park, then a drink in the garden of the Plume of Feathers or by the river at the Cutty Sark, the pub not the clipper. Although, it doesn’t really even have to be sunny.

4. One place you have always wanted to visit?

Burning Man.

5. TOP 3?

Music Artist or Music genre: Laura Marling
Place to hang out: Greenwich
Exercise: Cycling

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On a regular basis we deliver training and updates from Health and Safety procedures that includes working with harnesses, working on heights, working with power tools.

Work Experience

Are you interested in learning new skills while taking part in heritage brickwork restoration?

Whether you study architecture or engineering and are looking for volunteering activities to get a different perspective on the subject, or thinking about getting work experience in bricklaying and construction environments, you will find what you need at the Dock Restoration Project.

You will be contributing to the dock originally built in 1871, transforming it into a marina with mooring spaces and a boatyard. While learning and developing new skills you will contribute to the transformation of this previously neglected area in Newham.

It’s a great opportunity to try new things, work on heights, learn more about health and safety procedures, get used to working with power tools,  and more while working alongside Wolfgang and his dedicated team!

Collaboration & Events

Please check our Event page!

Find out more about the Brick Making workshops organised by V&A museum and ELU as part of Newham Heritage month that the Dock Restoration Team attended last year.

Look out for our next Heritage walk: Cody Dock’s Secret Places, Hidden History and Evolving Nature led by William Sharp. Get inspired and charmed by vivid and imaginative stories about Newham history!

Join one of our Dock Restoration Tours,  see the dock from a completely different perspective. It’s a unique opportunity to witness the process of transforming a once abandoned and neglected place into a community hub and small oasis for wildlife, preserved and looked after by Citizen and Science.