By a strange coincidence Frederick Handel and Jimi Hendrix lived in the same building; not together, of course, otherwise we would have had some fascinating musical collaboration. Handel was born in 1685 in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg. His father, 63 when George Frideric was born, was an eminent barber-surgeon who served the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. According to Handel's first biographer, John Mainwaring, he "had discovered such a strong propensity to Music, that his father who always intended him for the study of the Civil Law, had reason to be alarmed. He strictly forbade him to meddle with any musical instrument but Handel found means to get a little clavichord privately convey'd to a room at the top of the house". In 1702, following his father's wishes, Handel started studying law under Christian Thomasius at the University of Halle. He earned an appointment for one year as the organist in the former cathedral, by then an evangelical reformed church. Handel seems to have been unsatisfied, and in 1703 he accepted a position as violinist and harpsichordist in the orchestra of the Hamburg Oper am Gänsemarkt. In 1710, Handel became Kapellmeister to German prince George, the Elector of Hanover, who in 1714 would become King George I of Great Britain and Ireland. Handel was commissioned in 1717 to write music for a royal water party, and composed The Water Music to accompany the King’s progress along the River Thames. Shortly after, he moved to Cannons, the estate of the Duke of Chandos in Edgware. In 1719 Handel was appointed ‘Master of the Orchestra’ of London’s first Italian opera company, the Royal Academy of Music. Having established himself in English society, Handel took a lease on a house in Brook Street, Mayfair in the summer of 1723. He was to live in this house until his death 36 years later. The Best of Handel.
Brought to London by manager Chas Chandler in September 1966, Jimi Hendrix quickly established a reputation as a spectacular live performer, based on an intensive period of playing in London clubs, as well as venues across the UK, often delivering more than one set per night. The success of his first two single releases, Hey Joe (December 1966) and Purple Haze (March 1967), and his first album with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? (May 1967), coupled with the reputation established by his UK shows, led to fame; ensuring that when he returned to play shows in the USA, only nine months after he had arrived in London, he was already a European star. After spending much of 1968 recording and touring in the USA, Hendrix returned to London, moving into an upstairs flat in 23 Brook Street which his then girlfriend Kathy Etchingham had rented for them that summer. Kathy had completely furnished the flat with their joint possessions and new purchases, including curtains and carpets from John Lewis on Oxford Street. For the next three months Hendrix used the flat as his base, giving interviews there, writing new songs, and preparing for his February concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. On learning that Handel used to live next door he went with Kathy to the One Stop Record Shop in South Molton Street and bought some classical albums – including Handel’s Messiah and Water Music. For Hendrix, Brook Street was the doorstep to the London music scene of the late 60s. His flat was a short stroll from legendary venues like the Marquee, the Speakeasy and The Scotch of St James and he would spend many evenings wandering from club to club looking for a chance to play. Live in Concert. There are knowledgeable volunteers in the historic rooms who can talk to you about the rooms, the paintings and Handel’s life in Georgian London. Guide dogs welcome. They have many concerts at Handel House that are suitable for all including our Thursday Live series that takes place every Thursday at 6.30pm. For further information about events and verbal descriptive tours for blind and partially sighted at Handel & Hendrix in London please contact them or the RNIB Music Advisory Service - 020 7391 2273. Carers are free.
Location : 25 Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 4HB
Opening Times, Monday to Saturday 11:00 to 18:00. Sunday 12:00 to 18:00
Tickets : Both House + Flat - Adults £10.00 Children £5.00 Disabled/VI £5.50
Either House or Flat - Adults £10.00 Children £5.00
Tel: 020 7495 1685