Rupert Hohwieler 28/05/23
Handel & Hendrix in London | A Townhouse-Turned-Museum Brimming with Musical Heritage
Handel & Hendrix: great musicians, probably wouldn’t work as well as neighbours.
They’d definitely have to limit the nightly rehearsal sessions…
And although their styles of music were wildly dissimilar (one being a rockstar, one being a composer) and they were born 250-years apart, the pair were more closely connected than you’d think. They both fell in love with London after immigrating here from different countries, and unbeknownst to them (at least from Handel’s side, Hendrix knew) the two shared the same address in Mayfair, Brook Street. Quick explainer on how two aspiring artists managed to land cushy Central London flats: rent was a lot cheaper back then…
As with other historic, revisited homes – like Emery Walker’s House and Sambourne House – their old residences have now been converted into a joint museum where many make the trip over to sneak a peek into how two men, who undoubtedly changed the music landscape forever from their respective eras, might have lived out their rainy London days.
Hendrix lived at number 23 for two years (1968-1969) with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, and when he wasn’t out and about, putting on gigs in underground bars and live music venues, or checking out curry houses, you’d probably find him here, in bed doing psychedelics and watching Coronation Street (an underrated combo). For his portion of the museum, you’ll be able to see the guitarist’s bohemian-fitted bedroom from where he watched the soap, wrote songs and rehearsed for shows – and there’s also an exhibition highlighting his time at the flat (with various personal items like the first guitar he used when he arrived here, a red velvet jacket and pages of hand-written lyrics), as well a display his record collection, which is huge as Jimi didn’t have a stop button when it came to buying LPs…
George Frideric Handel, meanwhile, is regarded as one of the all-time great baroque composers, and his Brook Street stay was considerably longer than Hendrix’s – he was at number 25 for 36 years from 1723 until 1759. His slice of the museum holds court over two floors where the four main period rooms – the bedroom, dressing room, performance room and composition room – have all been reimagined as to how they would have appeared in the 1880s. The latter was where he pretty much wrote all his late-stage work; operas, oratories, the lot.
Other than that, Handel & Hendrix in London plans to hold numerous events – harpsichord concerts that pay homage to Handel and late-night house parties on Fridays that are more Hendrix’s speed.
Hopefully the neighbours don’t mind…
NOTE: Handel & Hendrix in London is open Sun-Weds from 10am-5pm. Entry tickets cost £14 and you can book those on their website, right here.
Handel & Hendrix in London | 25 Brook Street, London W1K 4HB
Feeling peckish? Drop into one of Mayfair’s best restaurants…
25 Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HB
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020 7495 1685
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