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Hendrix at the Handel House

In an attempt to draw a new generation of musos to the Handel House in Mayfair—where the composer lived from 1723-1759 creating works like the Messiah—the curators have opened up a faithful recreation of Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 apartment in the very same building. While Hendrix’s time in the top flat at 23 Brook Street was short-lived and his connection to Handel tenuous—he bought a few Handel records at the record store across the street and allegedly glimpsed his ghost in the mirror—the only place Jimi ever called “home” now has its place in history.

You won’t be blown away by its size or Hendrix’s taste—the tiny studio is covered in tchotchkes and mismatched furniture—but that’s sort of the point. While his counterparts on the scene like John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Pete Townsend were all moving into city mansions and country estates, at the height of his career and just before the release of Electric Ladyland, Hendrix was content sharing a teensy room in town with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. He shopped at nearby John Lewis (the UK equivalent of Macy’s), was a regular fixture at the local record shops, and would invite his friends over to huddle over his Bang & Olufsen turntable. In this sense, the Hendrix flat brings the late 60’s music scene into focus through the lens of one of its major players: Have a quick gander at his cozy domestic space, read through a timeline of his London years, check out his record collection full of notes on his tastes in music and his interactions with other musicians, and get steeped in an authentic 60’s London existence. Then head downstairs to Handel’s house for a taste of a wholly different London music scene. Photo: Barrie Wentzell

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