The Belfast sink is a Butler’s sink known for its overflow weir, a feature that prevents water from spilling over the sink’s edge by draining it into the wastewater plumbing. This design element is instrumental in preventing water damage to the surrounding work surface and cabinetry.

About Butler’s Sinks

The term “Butler’s sink” is often used to describe a specific type of ceramic sink with a rectangular shape and rounded rim. This sink is designed to be set into a work surface, and it comes in two main variations: the London sink and the Belfast sink. Both types are traditionally made of ceramic and are similar in appearance, but they have some key differences that set them apart.

The Belfast sink is generally deeper compared to its London counterpart. The depth was originally around 38 centimetres (15 inches), although modern versions may vary. The Belfast Sink has its roots in Ireland and is named after the capital city, Belfast.

Belfast Sink Alternative: The London Sink

The London sink is similar in shape and material to the Belfast sink but traditionally lacks the overflow weir. It was also originally shallower than the Belfast sink. Some theories suggest that the shallower design was due to London’s limited access to fresh water, although this theory is contested. Like the Belfast sink, the London sink is also set into a work surface but may not have the same depth or overflow protection.

Butlers Sinks: Similarities and Differences

Both the Belfast and London sinks were initially designed for utility and functionality, often used in butler’s pantries for cleaning and food preparation. Over time, they have become popular in kitchens and utility rooms due to their timeless design and durability. The primary difference between the two lies in the overflow weir in the Belfast sink, which adds an extra layer of functionality.

The functional aspects of Belfast and London sinks have significantly influenced their aesthetic appeal in modern kitchen designs. Here’s how:

Utility Meets Style

Both Belfast and London sinks were originally designed for utility, often used in butler’s pantries for cleaning and food preparation. Their deep basins were practical for washing large pots and pans. Over time, this utility has become a selling point for modern kitchens where functionality is as important as aesthetics.

Vintage Charm

The classic design of these sinks, often made from ceramic or porcelain, adds a vintage charm to modern kitchens. The Belfast sink, with its overflow weir, is often seen as a feature that adds character and uniqueness to the kitchen, making it a focal point of the design.

Material Choices

While traditionally made from ceramic, modern Butler’s sinks come in a variety of materials like stainless steel, granite, and even composite materials. This allows for greater flexibility in matching the sink with different kitchen styles, from rustic to contemporary.


The design of these sinks is versatile enough to fit into various kitchen themes. Whether it’s a farmhouse-style kitchen that benefits from the rustic charm of a ceramic Belfast sink or a sleek, modern kitchen where a stainless steel London sink would fit right in, these sinks are adaptable to different aesthetic requirements.