Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix spent some of his most creatively fertile years based in London. Moving to the UK capital in 1966, the Seattle-born rock star lived for some of that time at 23 Brook Street in the city’s plush Mayfair district. Sharing the small £30-a-week ($43) apartment with girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, the living space wasn’t only a place of refuge for the musician, it was also where he created new music, hung out with friends, and gave interviews to a mesmerized media that couldn’t get enough of the man.
Following several years’ planning and restoration, Hendrix’s former residence will this week throw open its doors to fans young and old, offering followers of one of rock music’s original guitar gods a peek inside the very place where he once lived.
The space features displays depicting his life, work, and musical legacy, while the main bedroom/living room has been restored to look exactly as it was when Hendrix spent time there.
Among many items, visitors can see Hendrix’s Epiphone FT-79 acoustic guitar, a vintage Bang & Olufsen turntable alongside some of his favorite records, two large Lowther speakers which used to belt them out, and, in a subtle nod to the excesses enjoyed by Hendrix and his contemporaries, an empty bottle of Mateus Rosé wine.
A 1960s time-capsule, other details include newspapers from the period, electric-turquoise velvet curtains, and a BOAC airline bag where Hendrix kept his guitar repair kit. Of course, there are plenty of photos of the man, too, some of which were taken inside the apartment.
Those familiar with Hendrix’s Brook Street home will also know that Handel lived next door, albeit 200 years earlier. The German-born composer spent 26 years of his life there, creating some of his best known works during that time.
The Handel House has been open to the public for the last 15 years. Its owner, which till now used Hendrix’s rooms as office space, said there was always a steady stream of visitors over the years asking if they could check out the guitarist’s living space, too.
Now they finally have their chance. Entry costs £7.50 (about $11).