Jimi Hendrix’s old London flat is opening as a permanent museum tomorrow, bringing back rock’n’roll to the stuccoed streets of Mayfair.
Sited next door to composer Handel’s former home on Brook Street, the third-floor apartment has been fully restored with the help of its past visitors, including the guitarist’s former girlfriend Kathy Etchingham.
Michelle Aland, director of Handel & Hendrix in London, says: ‘[Hendrix] loved the fashion and music scene in London and his Brook Street flat enabled him to watch live music in Soho, shop at Liberty and visit the guitar shops in the neighbourhood.’
The recreated flat comes complete with the star’s old Epiphone FT79 acoustic guitar, which he used to devise his cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’. Visitors will also have a chance to check out Hendrix’s record collection, including his copy of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ performed by the English Chamber Orchestra.
Pieces were specially sourced to recreate Hendrix’s flat as it looked when he lived there between 1968 and 1969. Textile designers Wallace & Sewell handcrafted a colour bedspread for the project, while furniture makers Bates and Lambourne produced a wooden chair with cabriolet legs.
Adds Aland: ‘When Hendrix came from the US in the 1960s, where some segregation still existed, Hendrix felt accepted in London, a multicultural city, and was immediately recognised by the music community for his immense talent.’
The flat’s opening was made possible after Handel & Hendrix in London – formerly known as the Handel House Museum – added a rooftop extension to the properties at 23 and 25 Brook Street. Hendrix’s flat had been used as offices for the institution’s staff.
As part of the revamp, the museum has also been able to install a 40-seater studio and music venue for hosting workshops and intimate concerts.