FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson

November 22, 2017

The rooms of two famous former tenants are displayed in an apartment complex in London’s Mayfair neighborhood: Jimi Hendrix and George Friedrich Handel, who found fame after moving to England. The guitar god and the baroque composer occupied adjoining flats, 200 years apart.

Handel obtained the apartment after being appointed by George II. (Hendrix was brought to London by his manager.) The composer resided there from 1723 until his death in 1759. He wrote his most famous music there, including Messiah.  

Handel’s rooms has been restored to mimic his original layout. Most of the artifacts are replicas but a few of his actual possessions were provided by the Handel trust. After peeling back many layers of paint, the original color of Handel’s room, a bluish grey is the color once again.

When Hendrix learned that Handel had lived in the unit next to his, he bought recordings of Handel’s Messiah and Water Music to learn more about the composer.

Some fans of Hendrix claim that Handelian riffs can be heard in the gutiar chords of Hendrix’s later work.

Hendrix was lucky to have no neighbors, which allowed him to rock out as loudly as he wanted.

The Handel house opened in 2001, while the Hendrix flat opened in 2016. It is only officially sanctioned place where Hendrix lived.

There was always a desire to turn Handel’s flat into a museum, but funds were needed. Stanley Sadie, a musicologist, and Julie Anne formed the Handel House Trust which raised enough funds to buy the building and restore it.

The first idea was to purchase the entire 25 Brook Street building but the freeholders didn’t want to release the retail unit on the building’s bottom floor.

In 2000, the Handel House Trust got the lease for the upper floors of number 25 and 23 Brook street, and construction work started. In 2007, the trust got a 999 year lease for the entire building, and a two-stage master plan was developed to restore Jimi Hendrix’s flat.

The next installment of restoring Handel’s bottom floor and basement will begin later.

The nearby Mews of Mayfair brasserie now offers an afternoon tea which includes some of the favorite foods and beverages of both musicians.

The tea and the restored rooms continue to attract crowds of Londoners and tourists to this historic city block –  where two of music’s most influential figures once lived.

 

References:

“Learn.” Handel and Hendrix. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2017.

Photo: Annika Lindburg

Annika Lindburg

Intern: Summer 2017