Previous names

  • Hercules
Certificate no 70
Status National Historic Fleet


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Tug
Location Chatham Historic Dockyard
Vessel type TID
Current use Museum based
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Pickersgill, William & Sons, Southwick, Sunderland
Built in 1945
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Steam
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam compound
Boiler type Scotch Return Tube
Boilermaker D Rowan & Co Ltd, Glasgow
Boiler year 1945
Boiler fuel oil


Breadth: Beam
16.98 feet (5.18 m)
Breadth: Beam
16.98 feet (5.18 m)
8.00 feet (2.44 m)
Length: Overall
73.15 feet (22.31 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



TID 164 was completed on 28 November 1945 by Pickergill and was in naval service at Port Edgar, on the Forth estuary, attached to HMS LOCHINVAR, the mineswepper base. In 1947, she was chartered by the Port of London Authority to work in the London Docks, returning in the next year to the Firth of Forth to work at Rosyth Dockyard.

In December 1962, TID 164 was placed in reserve at Rosyth and, five years later, re-entered service there. In June 1974, she was sold to the Medway Maritime Museum for preservation and steamed to the Medway.

In 1975, she was renamed HERCULES to operate on towage for International Towing Ltd, a commercial venue of the Medway Maritime Trust. This work took her to London, Rye, the Clyde and the Caledonian Canal, and ended in 1978. She reverted to her original name and, whilst berthed at Chatham, sank at her moorings when a drain plug in the bottom of her hull broke.

Since 1999, the cabin has been refitted again and the boiler has been retubed. In 2003, central heating was installed, running pipes in cable trays to match the original wiring and hiding radiators, in an attempt to reduce condensation and prevent rust. A new fresh water tank was also installed next to the sanitary tank forward of the wheelhouse, made of wood and resin.

Work continued in 2004, this time in Rod Bryant's dry dock at Otterham Quay. All the valves, which were attached to the hull, were removed, grit blasted re-machined and new tops fabricated where necessary, new studs and nuts fitted and the insides coated with a modern anti-corrosive paint. The wood of the rubbing strake was removed, the damaged metal cut away and renewed, and the lower metal strake replaced by individual brackets for each bolt to prevent water retention.  The 'new' wood is 150 year old pine, which has been treated. The hull was high-pressure water blasted and ultrasonic thickness tested. Where plates were thin, an area was cut away and patches welded flush into the hull (not doublers), and the whole area was finished with airless sprayed red oxide and gloss paint. The tug received its regular boiler and general surveys and was ready for steaming again.

In 2009, she again sank at her berth and was raised.

Since the formation of The Friends of TID 164 in 2010, work is ongoing to restore the vessel.  

Update Feb 2020: TID 164 is well cared for at Chatham Historic Dockyard by volunteers of the TID 164 Preservation Trust, and is due to be in steam again during the summer of 2020.

Source: Paul Brown, Historic Ships The Survivors (Amberley, 2010).  Updated: November 2015, Friends of TID 164


Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships, Anthony Nelson, Edition 2, 1993
Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles, Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, Edition 6, May 1994
Classic Boat, June 1991
Classic Boat: 1,000 Boat Pageant - Steamers and Workboats, June 2012
Ships Monthly: Tugs of War, pp16-19, October 1998  
Ships Monthly: Still in Steam - Steam Tug Brent, January 1997
Warship World: TIDs were a Temporary Measure, Spring 1986
Hall, Ron L, Steam Tug 'Brent' - leaflet, Hall, Ron L

Key dates

  • 1945

    Built by W. Pickersgill & Sons of Sunderland for the Ministry of War Transport

  • 1947

    Chartered by the Port of London Authority

  • 1948

    Worked at Rosyth Dockyard

  • 1962

    Placed on reserve

  • 1967

    Re-entered service

  • 1974

    Sold to the Medway Maritime Museum for preservation

  • 1975

    Renamed HERCULES and employed on towage for International Towing Limited

  • 1978

    Reverted to her original name at Chatham

  • 1999

    Ongoing restoration work at Chatham

  • 2009

    Sunk at her moorings and raised

  • 2012

    Vessel selected for Avenue of Sail, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3/6/2012, but did not attend 

  • 2010

    Friends of TID 164 formed to restore her.

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact

More like this

Seaport Alpha at Whitehaven July 2021

Registered, built 1943 by Dunston, Richard, Thorne

Brent - stern view

Registered, built 1945 by Pickersgill, William & Sons, Southwick, Sunderland

TID 172 - starboard bow

Registered, built 1946 by Scarr, Henry Ltd, Hessle

starboard bow view

Registered, built 1945 by Scarr, Henry Ltd, Hessle