It’s one of the most curious coincidences in musical history. In 1723, the baroque composer Georg Friedrich Handel moved into 25 Brook Street in London, where he remained until his death 36 years later. Two centuries later, the trailblazing guitarist Jimi Hendrix moved with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham into the property next door, 23 Brook Street.
Handel's 25 Brook Street has been open to the public as a museum since 2001, but has now been joined by 23 Brook Street to form a museum dedicated to the two musicians. After a two-year period of repair that has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hendrix’s Mayfair flat is open to the public as an attraction in its own right.
Hendrix’s living room has been restored to its late 1960s state, allowing guests a previously unseen glimpse into his domestic arrangements. Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street sporadically from 1968, during which time he became entrenched in the London music scene. Some years later, the space was acquired by the Handel House Museum and used as an office and temporary exhibition space until its recent renovation.
The museum will now contain a permanent exhibition on Hendrix’s time in London. Items on show include his Epiphone FT79 acoustic guitar, which he used while composing new tracks, as well as previously unseen images of him in the local area.
The refurbished flat has been extended to include a new 40-seat space, The Studio, will be used for both baroque and contemporary performance.