Handel & Hendrix in London

In a single street in London, separated by a wall, are the homes of two of history’s most significant musical artists. 25 Brook Street is the house that belonged to George Frideric Handel and the place where he composed some of the world’s most enduring baroque music, including Messiah.

On the top floor of 23 Brook Street is the flat where, two centuries later, Jimi Hendrix lived with his girlfriend, record player and guitar. Both were the homes of musical innovators who chose London and changed music. See them together under one roof at Handel & Hendrix in London.

Handel House occupies two floors of 25 Brook Street, the building in which George Frideric Handel lived from 1723 until his death in 1759. The four restored historic rooms include his bedroom, and the dining room in which he rehearsed his musicians and singers and often gave informal recitals for friends and neighbours. The tradition of music making continues with its weekly Thursday Live concert series taking place in this very room. Additional rooms in the adjoining house are used for temporary exhibitions which focus on aspects of Handel’s life, professional career and associates.

The Hendrix Flat occupies the upper floor of 23 Brook Street, in which Jimi Hendrix lived from July 1968 to March 1969. The main room of the flat where he lived, entertained friends, rehearsed and wrote new music, and gave press interviews has been restored and a permanent exhibition introduces Hendrix’s place in the musical and social world of 1960s London, his influences and his legacy.

The flat was found by Hendrix’s girlfriend Kathy Etchingham from an advert in one of the London evening newspapers in June 1968 while he was in New York. He moved in briefly in July before returning to the United States for an extensive tour. He spent some time decorating the flat to his own taste, including purchasing curtains and cushions from the nearby John Lewis department store, as well as ornaments and knickknacks from Portobello Road market and elsewhere. He told Kathy that this was ‘my first real home of my own’.

He returned to Brook Street in January 1969 and almost immediately launched into an exhaustive series of press and media interviews and photo shoots in the flat. On 4 January he made his infamous appearance on the BBC Happening for Lulu TV show, and gave his two Royal Albert Hall concerts in February. In March he was back in New York again and although Kathy remained at Brook Street for a while longer Jimi did not live there again.

Look out for…

  • The two blue plaques of both Handel and Hendrix which can be seen at No.23 and No.25 Brook Street
  • Handel’s intimate Rehearsal and Performance Room where live music rehearsals and concerts regularly take place
  • Handel’s Composition Room: his study and place where he wrote many works including one of the greatest works in history, Messiah.
  • The reconstruction of Hendrix’s room (from 10 February 2016) which is designed to give the impression that Hendrix has just stepped out of the room.

Did you know?…

  • Handel wrote the Messiah score in an incredible 21 days, from 22 August to 12 September 1741
  • Zadok the Priest, composed at the house, is one of the four coronation anthems written for King George II and has been played at every coronation ceremony since
  • Jimi Hendrix was aware that Handel lived next door and bought recordings of Messiah and Belshazzar

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All information is drawn from or provided by the museums themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.