VISITORS to Maldon’s quayside were seeing double after two rare steam tug boats built in the Second World War moored up alongside each other.

Steam Tug Brent, moored at Cooks Yard, has become a well-known town landmark.

She is one of the last surviving tugs built for the admiralty in the final stages of the Second World War but was never needed during battle.

In total 182 tugs, known as TIDs, were built across the UK during the wartime.

After the war they were sold off to the Port of London Authority for work on the river Thames and only three of the tugs remain.

Earlier this month visitors to the Prom got to catch a glimpse of the Brent alongside another of the tugs, known as TID 172.

TID 172 was called Martello but reverted back to its number and was put to work on the waters of Medway town Chatham.

Trustee of Brent, Mark Heard said: “It was sold to ship breakers in 1973 and bought by Maldon man Albert Groom and like Brent is now being restored which is why it visited Maldon recently for repairs.

“Brent started off as TID 159 and was the very last of her class to be built being completed in 1946.

“By that time of course, the war had been won so it was sold off at a subsidised price to the Port of London Authority where it earned its living before being laid up in 1969.”

The authority sent Brent to the breaker’s yard in 1970 but she was saved by Ron Hall – who had been ordered to skipper an impounded yacht from Maldon to the very same yard.

Brent became the home of Ron and Janet Hall for the next 25 years.

Following Ron’s death Janet took on the responsibility of maintaining the Brent setting up the Steam Boat Brent Trust in 2010 in a bid to restore it.

The Brent now has more than 2,500 visitors a year.

Mr Heard added: “I thought I was seeing double as I walked in the Prom and saw not one but two stacks by the quayside and I was delighted to see TID 172 alongside.

“It is a mystery what TID actually stands for, some say Tug Inshore Defence or Technical and Industrial Design but today I guess it stands for Twins in The Dock.”

To find out more about Steam Tug Brent visit