23 Brook Street, Mayfair, London. Does the address sound familiar? Over the past two years a room in the building has been restored to look exactly like it did in 1968 and 1969. Why? Because Jimi Hendrix lived there of course. Owned by girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, Hendrix lived there for two years while they were together and fans, with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Etchingham herself, have restored the room to exactly how it looked when the legend resided there.
The Hendrix museum opens today and is part of a new campaign to turn the property into a heritage site. In 1997, an English Heritage blue plaque was posted on the wall outside the apartment, the first to be given to a musician. Fans will be given access to the third floor of the home which is said to be replicated down to the last detail. There will also be an accompanying exhibition that charts and celebrates the musician’s movements between the two years he lived there. Interestingly, the house neighbours the former London home of George Frideric Handel and both are the only homes of Hendrix and Handel that still exist.
More than forty-five years later the room has been recreated to feature Hendrix’s two telephones, the seashell ashtray and issues of the Melody Maker. Alistair Stranack, chariman of the Handel House Trust told the Metro ‘it is hard to think of another home in the world with such a concentration of musical genius. Our research into the building and Hendrix’s circle of friends and acquaintances has enabled us to present an image of what life was like in his time at Brook Street. While it is has been a pleasure to have been working in Jimi’s bedroom for the past few years, it is even more pleasing to be able to throw it open to everybody else’.
Once the two-year restoration was complete, the museum staff skyped Etchingham to show her their work, to which she replied ‘all wrong far too untidy’. Etchingham recalled that Hendrix was obsessively neat after his years in the army. She also said that Hendrix took a keen interest in the interior and would often be seen browsing the fabrics department of John Lewis. The museum entry will cost £7.50 but for £10 you also gain entry to The Handel House Museum, of which the Handel House Trust states ‘separated by a wall & 200 years are the homes of two musicians who chose London & changed music’. You can see some more photos of the room below.