basement floor - kitchen, laundry, coal store and housekeepers room
ground floor - entrance hall, dining room and breakfast room
first floor - library and main sleeping area for the family.
attic floor - servant sleeping space

How People Lived

The layout of a Georgian townhouse is hierarchical in nature and split between ‘servant’ and ‘served’ space.

The basement of the Donegall Street houses contained the working space of the home, the kitchen and laundry room. Due to its subterranean nature the basement did not have much light and was therefore not desirable as living space. Some houses had a separate staircase for servants to use and a small lift that moved food and other items between floors. A system of bells was also used between the rest of the house and kitchen to allow those living there to summon the staff.

The ground floor contained the main living and entertaining spaces of the house, much the same as in modern homes. Above the family would sleep and the man of the house might have had a study or library.

The top floor or attic was reserved for the servants sleeping quarters, once again it was often a space that was badly lit. It would also have been sparsely furnished and barely decorated. Each room of the house had an open fire for heating. Coal would be burned throughout the day to ensure the house was warm.


Georgian homes did not have central heating, instead they built houses with open fires in almost every room to keep themselves warm. If you have an open fire it is still a sustainable and relatively inexpensive way to heat your home.

Fuel used to heat a house should be from a sustainable and renewable source. Coal and other fossil fuels were once in plentiful supply, however, they are finite resource and are being depleted quickly.