In a single street in London, separated by a wall, are the homes of two of history’s most significant musical artists: Jimi Hendrix and George Frideric Handel. The top floor of 23 Brook Street is the flat where Jimi Hendrix lived with his girlfriend, record player and guitar from 1968-69. Step back in time to 60s London and visit the room where he slept, partied, worked and relaxed. Understand the man at Handel & Hendrix in London.
Handel & Hendrix in London is made up of two residences: Handel's house at 25 Brook Street and Hendrix's flat at the top floor of 23 Brook Street. Handel House has been open to the public since November 2001 and Hendrix's flat was the administrative office for staff.
After substantial fundraising and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hendrix's bedroom has been restored to how it was in 1968-69 along with additional exhibition and interactive space for visitors.
Spread across two terraces, the museum is located on 23-25 Brook Street, the homes of Hendrix & Handel, respectively. The Handel House is much larger than the Hendrix Flat, and their different styles have been lovingly restored to their corresponding glory days spanning 200 years apart.
The House was opened in 2001 by the Handel House Trust charity. The terrace building, where Handel resided for 26 years prior to his death in 1759, sports a basement and attic, separated by three storeys in between. Four rooms of the house were reconstructed to form the museum, such as his bedroom and dining room, which were where the composer created and practised his craft including the celebrated ”˜Messiah’. The rooms also saw Handel rehearse and perform before friends and neighbours, witnessing operatic history in the making.
Now restored to the fine Georgian design and comprising some original features like the staircase, the museum transports you to the classical era of 18th century London. Visitors can see reproductions of Handel’s harpsichord in addition to some original memorabilia accumulated by the Trust. You can even see the windows that Handel reportedly threatened to throw his 'underperforming’ sopranos out of! The adjoining house of the museum further showcases the artist’s life and career through various temporary exhibitions.
15 years after the opening of Handel House, the building yielded to the pressure of many music pilgrims arriving in Mayfair to see the stomping ground of the rock legend. The upper storey of 23 Brook Street was formerly used as an admin office for the Handel House, however was renovated back to the swinging 60s; the era of Hendrix, to allow fans to observe the site as it was when the star lived there with girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. He only occupied the flat for a short spell of nine months, but expressed that it was the ”˜first, real home of his own’. The site remains sacred, being the haunt where Hendrix wrote and performed new music, and being one of his last homes before his tragic death in 1970.
The museum is now a shrine to the world of rock music, comprising everything from Hendrix’s two telephones to his ashtrays, with the help of former girlfriend Etchingham’s advice. It was intended to be a temporary exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of the singer’s death, however was established as a permanent part of the museum due to popular interest.
If only walls could talk…thankfully the expert guides at Handel & Hendrix can. Get the low down on the history of the building as you step into the worlds of two musical greats. The guided tour gives will share the secrets of the two abodes, pointing out the very spots that inspired such musical creativity.
Guided tours take place weekly at 2pm on Friday, and can be bought on the door. Tickets are included in the general admission price.
You can also wander around Handel & Hendrix privately with up to 20 friends. Their group tours last approximately an hour and are available 10am on weekdays for £350, and between 11am and 4pm on weekdays for £450. For those with specific interests, you can inquire about their tailor-made tours with the option of including a musical recital to the package.
They also frequently host one-hour guitar classes specialising in Jimi's techniques, as well as open rehearsal sessions in the house on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
You can easily reach the museum via many different public transport routes. While parking is possible, it’s important to remember that Handel & Hendrix is located within the Congestion Charge Zone.
Car: Congestion fees are in operation from 7am – 6pm on weekdays. There are many surrounding streets that offer parking, as well as pay and display bays at Hanover Square and Brooks Mews, and larger car parks surrounding the West End. Check in advance whether you will need cash or card, as parking in this area can often require particular methods of payment.
Tube: Head to Bond Street or Oxford Circus, which can be reached via Jubilee and Central lines, and Victoria, Central and Bakerloo lines, respectively.
Train: The two closest railways stations are Victoria and Marylebone. You’ll likely need to get the tube afterwards to Oxford Circus, as both are around a half-hour walk away.
Bus: Several bus lines stop close by the museum, operating on Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street.
Handel & Hendrix aims to make visits as accommodating as possible for all. International visitors can discover the information sheets in many different languages around the museum, including French, Spanish, German, Italian and Japanese. The museum’s various volunteers are also on hand to assist you around the building, sharing their historical knowledge along the way.
The building offers full access and supportive facilities for disabled visitors, however it is advised to call ahead of your trip if you require any particular support. There is nearby disabled parking available and lift access to the rear entrance. Many events also leverage the museum’s accessibility, where most concerts are suitable for everyone and there is a range of verbal descriptive tours and events.