Apron Front Sinks From Across The Pond : The Belfast & The London

The other day we were working on updating the Horton Brasses catalog, getting ready for the rollout of some new kitchen hardware. I don’t want to reveal too much right now, but I will say it is very exciting bling. And oh so very English.

-The Bakes Pulls, coming soon-

Since then, I’ve been completely knackered–what with trying to channel an English vocabulary and all. Get it? “Channel.” “English.”  English Channel! I’ve been working on my puns, as well, because puns are oh so very British. I have a full on case of Anglophilia. All because of that forthcoming kitchen hardware. Tastier than scones with clotted cream!

And then this morning I had a revelatory experience. About sinks. That’s right, sinks. Sinks, sinks and…more sinks.

While taking part in an online discussion on apron front farm sinks–and whether or not they are accurately Victorian–the origin of these sinks was further revealed. I knew they had European roots, but did you know that there is a completely different kind of apron front sink that is authentically British and pretty much unavailable  in the United States? No, you didn’t. And I didn’t either.

If you are like me and find this completely fascinating, keep reading. If you are like my husband, you’ve made your way to the kitchen and are fixing yourself a quesadilla in the microwave. Beep! Beep! Don’t burn the roof of your mouth on that cheese.

Oh, wait. You’re still reading? You mean, you also find this compelling? This sink that we Americans have not set our high-end kitchen eyes on?


The scullery of the Comeragh House, Waterford, Ireland

In England, historically, there have been two styles of apron front fireclay sinks–the Belfast and the London. Both were used in butler’s pantries and sculleries. The difference between the two was the design. Due to 17th century building codes (that’s right, you needed a permit even way back then!), the sinks in Belfast needed a Weir overflow while the sinks in London did not. Despite advances in modern plumbing, the Belfast sink survives. Shaw’s, considered the epitome of fireclay sinks, sells them throughout Great Britain and Australia. If you are stateside and want one in time for St. Patrick’s Day, you better get your online order in now!


This Belfast sink is straight out of a home in the U.K.


My fireclay apron front sink is the London from Porcher. Now I understand where the name comes from, whereas before it just sounded a little pretentious. Like me trying to speak in a British accent.

Moi London.


For more info on this niche topic, visit Sara Claridge‘s post, Know your Butler from your Belfast. You’ll discover just when the French came on the apron front sink scene and even some solid tips on how to care for your fireclay sink. My favorite? “Common sense!”

7 thoughts on “Apron Front Sinks From Across The Pond : The Belfast & The London

  1. Gena @ A Bluebonnet in Beantown says:

    Of course I was with you. English kitchens? I’m there! I remember oogling over Belfast sinks when I was in the research phase of my kitchen. I didn’t realize they weren’t available at all in the States. Absolutely love the new hardware. It makes me want to start a new kitchen.


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