Know Your Butler From Your Belfast

Think of a country kitchen and it will most likely feature a Belfast or a Butler sink. Made from ceramic and with a generous bowl depth, Belfast and Butler sinks are the epitome of the classically-styled kitchen. Exuding a timeless elegance that makes them as popular in the modern-day kitchen as they have always been.

Posted on 5th July 2019, 3 minute read

Blanco BELFAST Ceramic Kitchen Sink


Functional as well as stylish due to the sink’s proportions, these types of sinks are often chosen for utility rooms too. They are perfect for washing down items including wellington boots after a dog walk and large pans and cookware after a Mary Berry style baking session.

Indeed, when these types of sink were first used domestically back in the 1800s, they would have been used for other tasks. This includes soaking laundry and carefully washing the household’s finest glassware and crockery until it shone.

Spot the difference – Butler or Belfast?

With similar characteristics in terms of size and material, it can be difficult to differentiate between a Belfast and a Butler sink, yet there are differences between the two. To discover these, it is necessary to go back to the origins of the products themselves.

While London is further inland, Belfast is on the coast and so obtaining water was less of an issue. In Belfast, it was less important to conserve water, and so the Belfast sinks have a slightly different design and feature an overflow. Put a Butler and a Belfast sink side by side today and this will be the primary difference between the two – one has an overflow, the other doesn’t. Although just to confuse things even further modern-day Butler sinks occasionally now feature a small overflow at the back.

Historically, size would have been another differentiating factor between the two products. Butler sinks were slightly wider and shallower than Belfast sinks. Butler sinks adapted over the years as water supply became less of an issue to often being just as deep as Belfast sinks today.

Trend-setting Sinks with Classic Style

In the modern kitchen, Butler and Belfast sinks are very much on-trend, despite retaining their characteristic traditional looks. This lends a classic look to a contemporary setting or can also fulfil the countryside image to perfection.

These robust and sturdy ceramic sinks are super durable and can withstand an enormous amount of wear and tear. They are easy to keep clean and make a striking stand-out feature in any kitchen or utility room.

Blanco SUBLINE 500-U Ceramic Kitchen Sink


The Butler sink was originally designed for use in the Butler’s pantry of wealthy London households. It was during Victorian times of course that the city suffered low supply of fresh water and it commonly had to be drawn from deep wells. This type of sink was ideal for conserving water and multi-tasking without constantly refilling.

The distinguishing feature of a Butler sink is therefore its lack of an overflow to avoid unnecessary water wastage.

Belfast being on the coast rather than inland, meant that access to fresh water was far less of an issue so there was less cause for households to conserve it. This more liberal use of water led to a subtle difference in the design of the Belfast sink compared to the original Butler sink, with the Belfast designed with an overflow.

Like Butler sinks before them, Belfast sinks were primarily used by butlers and house staff back in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Whether part of a complete kitchen redesign or a quick update to an existing space you should consider either of these sinks. Adding a Belfast or Butler sink to your home will make this area a guaranteed stand-out feature that is also highly practical.

Choose from a variety of options from many leading brands, including Twyford, Blanco and Rangemaster and add a Butler or Belfast sink to your kitchen in style.

With the resurgence in popularity of home baking, thanks to TV shows such as ‘Great British Bake Off’ Butler and Belfast sinks are increasingly sought after by homeowners due to their sheer size. This makes them ideal for washing up large pots and pans.

Butler and Belfast – which is best for your kitchen?

With such minor differences between them, choosing either a Butler or a Belfast sink for your kitchen will ensure a classic look is achieved. In addition you will gain a whole host of functional benefits suited to modern-day life.

With generously sized bowl depths, Butler and Belfast sinks are ideal for a range of everyday tasks. They will withstand general wear and tear without scratching and staining. They are great for washing up large pots and pans, while ensuring they always look the part and add a traditional feel to the kitchen or utility room.