So what do Handel and Hendrix have in common?
Well they shared a habitat separated by a wall and 200 years of course.
The place Brook Street, Mayfair, London, which has been turned into a museum for visitors to see where these two great musicians lived.
Handel moved into 25 Brook Street in 1723 his first home of his own at the age of 38 and stayed there for the rest of his life. He spent most of his time composing, rehearsing, performing and teaching in the house, as well as this Handel attended services close by at St. George’s Hanover Square, was governor of the Foundling Hospital and founder of the Fund for Decay’d Musicians, now the Royal Society of Musicians.
Handel House covers two floors, floor 1 comprising of Handel’s Composition Room and Music Room, with floor 2 comprising of Handel’s Bedroom and Dressing Room.
The composition room is a fascinating insight into how Handel came to compose so much of his work from the this very room, works such as Faramondo and Messiah.
The Music Room is currently used by composers in residence and visitors can enjoy rehearsals by musicians, which is delightful to see and hear. The bedroom which was the most private room for Handel (who remained unmarried), has a really small bed, the real reason for this was because most people slept sitting up to aid digestion.
The rooms offer an interesting insight into the composer and well worth the visit for a fan.
Adjoining directly is the flat of the genius Jimi Hendrix. What can be said about this man that isn’t already known, if you don’t know then I suggest you find out immediately!
The flat was what Hendrix considered his first home of his own, he shared it with his then girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. Visitors can see the bedroom (where the magic happened) and his record collection too.
The bedroom is a colourful room, with an opulent look. Items have been carefully selected and reconstructed to reflect the time as close as it could be to Hendrix’s time spent there.
The tasselled shawl, rugs and wooden ‘captain’ chair are very memorable, as well as the knitted Dog Bear. It is interesting to that Hendrix had classical music in his record collection, including Handel.
I particularly enjoyed reading replicant writing of lyrics for Voodoo Chile and Voodoo Child (Slight Return) on the bedside table, although it has been noted that Hendrix wrote most of his lyrics anywhere he could including on napkins.
It was funny to see a tea set too, it was said that Hendrix was fond of English Breakfast tea as well as Coronation Street (can only assume this as Eastenders wasn’t around the time), an image of him drinking tea and watching Corrie would have been funny to see.
There is also a gift shop which is reasonably priced, containing both Handel and Hendrix merchandise.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the visit and learning how these two individuals lived was a great find. I would recommend anyone who has an hour or so to spare to check it out.
25 Brook Street
London W1K 4HB