Handel and Hendrix London Homes: Musicians’ Worlds Recreated

It turns out legendary composer George Frideric Handel and guitar legend Jimi Hendrix were neighbors — only centuries apart. Now, a new standing exhibit in Central London transforms the building that housed both of them into a museum that recreates their residences true to their historical periods.

Tucked away on a small square between Grosvenor Square and Hanover Square at 23 Brook Street, the minds behind Handel and Hendrix in London removed a wall and the two centuries that separated the building’s famous residents, creating one museum experience dedicated to historically accurate design and decor. During a recent run through London, I had a chance to walk in the footsteps of a great composer and a rockstar.

With London celebrating the 40th anniversary of Punk Rock’s birth, there’s special attention coming to the rock n’ roll giants that laid the groundwork for the thrashers of the 1970s. The opening of the Hendrix exhibit couldn’t be timed better. From Rock History Walking Tours to special museum exhibits, plenty of London tourists will be rock music focused in 2016.

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While Handel lived in his half of the house for more than 30 years until his death, Hendrix resided on the same premises for only about a year after moving to London from New York in 1968. However, it was a hugely important year for one of the great rock guitarists and song writers of that decade. He would appear on the BBC and perform two shows at the Royal Albert Hall before embarking on an American tour.

The Hendrix flat is on the building’s top floor, a studio apartment with a kitchen and bath adjoined by a single hallway. The curators examined everything from period photos to video interviews to study what the apartment held and how it was furnished and decorated.

From there, the hunt was one to find everything from the correct period television to the albums in the Hendrix record collection. It’s all arranged just how it looked when Hendrix welcomed visiting press into his home.

While he passed in London, Hendrix did not die at the museum property. By that time, he resided on the Portobello Road. However, Hendrix said this Brook Street flat was the first home he felt was fully his own.

Since the museum occupies such a small, formerly residential space, visitors must pre-book their visits. There is a waiting list, so fans looking to experience this slice of music history should make their reservations here.