Talland House plaque


The heritage plaque to mark the writer Virginia Woolf’s childhood summers in St Ives was unveiled at Talland House on Sunday 11 September as part of the St Ives September Festival.

The plaque was unveiled by Professor Maggie Humm, vice-chair of the Virginia Woolf Society of GB, and Councillor Johnnie Wells, Deputy Mayor of St Ives.

Prof. Humm paid tribute to the Town Clerk and the donors worldwide who funded the project. She spoke about the significance of Talland House and how the Stephen family would have remembered it. She concluded with readings from her novel, Talland House, and the poignant final paragraph from Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. By a neat and satisfying coincidence, Virginia Woolf (then Stephen) visited Godrevy Lighthouse in St Ives Bay on 12 September 1892, almost 130 years to the day of the plaque unveiling.

Also in attendance at the event were Peter Eddy, current owner of Talland House, now a private house with multiple tenants; Polly Carter, the gardener who has done so much to restore the Talland House garden to what it was in Woolf’s time; Andy Golay, who helped with research and town planning; Celeste Allen, VWSGB member and part of the September Festival organising team; and Sarah Latham Phillips of the VWSGB. And numerous Woolf fans, of course!




As reported on the front page of the St Ives Times & Echo on Friday 28 January, there has now been a decision about the plaque’s location. It will be placed on the first-floor level (US: second storey) of the building, on the right-hand side of the east elevation, facing St Ives Bay, for clear visibility. The next stage is to apply for listed building planning consent. There is a proposal under consideration that the Woolf plaque should be the first in a comprehensive black plaque scheme for the St Ives area, with the planning and development process acting as a blueprint for the wider scheme.


Great news from St Ives Town Council! In consultation with the Virginia Woolf Society of GB, they have voted unanimously to support the installation of a plaque commemorating Virginia Woolf at Talland House, where she spent the summer months as a child. Thanks are due to VWSGB Executive Council member Maggie Humm for providing St Ives Town Council with much useful and persuasive information, which helped them reach their decision.

Funding details have yet to be agreed. Watch this space!

St Ives’ connection with other family members – Vanessa Bell, Leslie Stephen and Juia Stephen – also deserves to be celebrated, notes the article. The VWSGB would heartily agree. 

The front page of the St Ives Times & Echo, Friday 28 January 2022 (Thanks to Celeste Allen of the St Ives Archive for the image)
























Talland House from Leslie Stephen's album
Talland House from Leslie Stephen’s album, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College
VWSGB members at Talland House
St Ives Study Weekend group outside Talland House, October 2021. Photo courtesy Marielle O’Neill