Boris Johnson has announced that this year’s G7 Summit will be held in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, from 11 to 13th June 2021. The usual population of 4,000 will be swelled by government representatives from the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the EU (plus Australia, India and South Korea, invited as guest countries).
If you wonder what this has to do with Virginia Woolf, Carbis Bay was where she and her Stephen siblings stayed for seven weeks in August–October 1905. In Trevose View – a house once owned by Boris’s ancestors, ‘home for decades to his great-grandparents, Lloyd’s underwriter Stanley Williams and his Paris-born wife Marie Louise de Pfeffel’ (Constable).
From Trevose View Virginia Stephen (as she would be for another seven years) wrote to Violet Dickinson in faint praise: ‘Here we are settled comfortably [ . . . ] The house is at any rate separate from other houses, and there are plenty of windows. Nessa has been draping the chairs, which are blue plush with yellow patterns’ (17 September, L1, 203-4). But the blue and yellow chairs can’t be blamed on Boris’s great-grandparents: they didn’t move there until the 1920s.
The house was only a few years old when Virginia and her siblings stayed there, which may explain Vanessa Bell’s disparaging remarks to her friend Margery Snowden: ‘This house is new and hideous and the furniture is of the worst lodging house description’ (Bell 34). Virginia seems to have shared her sister’s opinion, and even her vocabulary,writing to Emma Vaughan: ‘We have a little lodging house, of the most glaring description’ (207). The saving grace was, as both of them noted, the surrounding area of Carbis Bay and nearby St Ives: ‘the divinest view in Europe’, claimed Virginia (L1 203), while Vanessa opined less superlatively: ‘the place is most beautiful’ (Bell 34).
Bell, Vanessa. Letter to Margery Snowden, 13 August 1905. In Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell, ed. Regina Marler. London: Bloomsbury, 1993.
Constable, Nick. ‘So THAT’S why Boris Johnson is hosting the G7 summit in a tiny Cornish village!’ MailOnline, 24 January 2021.
Woolf, Virginia, L1, 203–9.
 ‘Little’ is not strictly accurate: Trevose View is a large house by most (and certainly by modern) standards.