The Important Difference Between Butler and Belfast Sinks

If you’re after a timeless, white ceramic sink, you should look no further than the Belfast, Butler or Farmhouse models. Looking so-very-countryside in a traditional styled kitchen, these chunky ceramic sinks are durable, easy to clean and make a stand out feature in any kitchen or utility room.

It’s worth knowing the differences between your Belfast, Butler and Farmhouse, not only to make sink shopping a hell of a lot easier, but also to ensure you’ve always got something to talk about at dinner parties - trust us, it’s more interesting than it sounds.

 

The Historical Difference

The differences between these sinks goes all the way back to Victorian times. The Butler sink was originally designed for the Butler’s pantry in London. Back in the day, London had far less readily available water than it does these days. While even today we would struggle to call the river Thames ‘fresh’, London in the Victorian times was in very short supply of fresh water. Because of this, the sinks had to be designed specifically to conserve water, a stark contrast to the Belfast models.

Belfast sinks are an adaptation of Butler sinks. Like the Butler sinks, they were primarily used by butlers but designed in Belfast. 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.

Belfast vs London - The Clash of Ceramics

Ceramic sinks are hugely popular thanks to their durability, scratch and stain-resistant properties, and the fact that they are easy to clean. They look beautiful in traditional and country-styled kitchens, although more modern designs have grown in popularity in recent years.

Tap Warehouse has a huge range of white ceramic sinks, both in Belfast and Butler designs and modern designs for those wanting the best of both worlds. One of our favourite (traditional) Belfast models is the Butler & Rose Fireclay Belfast Kitchen Sink with its generously-sized bowl and classic Weir overflow. Its durability and timeless look make it well worth its £149.99 price tag – putting it as one of the most affordable ceramic sinks around today.

The Waste Difference

As water had to be drawn from deep wells in London back in the 18th century, the London Butler sinks were built to encourage people to conserve water. Butler sinks then were made without a Weir overflow, unlike Belfast sinks which are built with an overflow, as at the time it didn’t matter if a little water got wasted.

Whilst more modern designs have seen the addition of a small overflow at the back of a Butler sink, the difference in the overflows remains the primary difference between the two.

The Depth Difference

As the years have gone on, Butler sinks have increased in size as water supply has become less of an issue. However, the basic differences between the two sinks remain the same. Butler sinks were built slightly wider and shallower than Belfast models, to encourage the conservation of water while still fitting into large kitchen cabinets. Belfast sinks were usually deeper as limiting water used wasn’t necessary.

 

But what about Farmhouse Sinks?

Farmhouse (or French Farmhouse) sinks are another type of sink that deserve a little recognition, although these days they are practically identical to Butler models. In France, the clay used to make sinks is slightly more refined than in the UK. Because of this, Farmhouse sinks often have thinner walls and look slightly more elegant. However, they still add a beautifully traditional feel to any kitchen, whilst being robust and sturdy enough to withstand dropped pots and pans!

Which one is best for my kitchen?

All three sinks add something beautifully timeless to a kitchen or utility room, but the differences between them are minor enough that you needn’t lose sleep over which one to go for! All three models of sink offer style, functionality and are available to suit a range of budgets.

Browse our complete collection of traditional and modern ceramic kitchen sinks here.