How people Lived
In Victorian Belfast there were two types of terrace house available, ‘kitchen’ houses and ‘parlour’ houses. Both consisted of two rooms upstairs and two downstairs with a scullery and outdoor toilet. However, ‘kitchen’ houses had a kitchen and small bedroom downstairs, with two bedrooms above, while a ‘parlour’ house had a front sitting room and kitchen downstairs and two bedrooms above. The McMaster Street terrace is made up of ‘parlour’ houses and was therefore seen as more prosperous.
The kitchen was the heart of these homes, used for cooking, eating and even having a bath in front of the fire as there was no bathroom, only a cold outside toilet. The kitchen would have been the warmest room in the house and would often have had a small comfortable seating area.
The parlour would have contained the family’s best furniture and would only have been used for special occasions.