Butlers from Belfast

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Butler sink

This is my Butler sink. The Butler sink got its name from the role of the main user. The Butler of the household would use the Butler sink. As I talked to kitchen suppliers they all corrected me when I called this a Butler sink, no, its a Belfast sink. A quick online search tells me that Butler is the generic word for the sinks and Belfast describes more specific features, in this case a ‘wier’ style water overflow. This website describes how city names became associated with the design, and why different cities had different designs:

This is because, when butler sinks were first made in the late 17th century, each major city had a sanitation officer autonomously responsible for the ordering of pipes, basins, sinks, and decreeing sizes, styles etc. Different patterns were evolved and gave rise to specific types. Hence the Belfast butler sink was different from, say, the London butler sink.

Belfast, with access to plentiful water housed sinks with overflows, but London , built on clay where deep wells had to be drilled to reach water, discouraged water wastage and no overflows were accommodated. Therefore, the Belfast butler sink has what is known as a Weir overflow built into it, whereas a standard Butler Sink doesn’t

rate wendys scribble

4 bits of lovely banter on “Butlers from Belfast”

  1. Scarlet writes:

    I will try to remember this as I always find it confusing… sometimes I just call them big white ceramic sinks, so as not to offend.



  2. Bux writes:

    are those your smalls Wendy?

    I love a butler, I mean belfast sink!




    wendy writes

    those are indeed my soapy smalls. Bubbliscious!



  3. baz writes:

    I love belfast sinks! In my last house, I bought a second hand belfast sink which was been used as a planter in someones back garden. I cleaned it up and had it installed, nothing wrong with it. It looked brilliant as a planter too.



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