When is a boring old office not a boring old office? When it’s guitar legend Jimi Hendrix’s old digs.
Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street in Mayfair from the summer of 1968. He lived in several different flats and hotels during his time in London, but Brook Street’s Georgian Townhouse was the place the musician thought of as ‘the only home I ever had’. Now, the flat is being turned into a new Hendrix museum thanks to a £1.2m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The ‘Purple Haze’ guitarist isn’t the only famous Brook Street resident, though. There are two blue plaques on the row: one for Hendrix, and one for 18th-century German composer George Frideric Handel, who had lived at number 25. The rooms where Hendrix stayed had been occupied by staff of the Handel House Museum, but are now due to be turned into a full-time exhibition space.
Hendrix paid £30 a week to rent the flat, which he shared with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham. It has been used for a exhibition of Hendrix memorabilia once before – in 2010, for a show marking 40 years since the musician’s death.
London’s music heritage might seem pretty rich already, but this tribute to a true great is certainly a welcome addition. After Boris Johnson recently claimed The Beatles as London’s own (much to the surprise of Liverpool and basically everyone else) now we can welcome Jimi Hendrix – Mayfair resident and London icon – back to the city.
Not content with snooping around Jimi’s old flat? Here are five more Hendrix hotspots in London:
Scotch of St James
This Westminster club was a famous musician’s bolt hole in the ’60s and a regular haunt for Hendrix. Some claim it’s where Hendrix first played in the capital, though it’s more likely Knightsbridge’s Cromwellian Club was the first London stage he took to.
Regent Street Polytechnic
This student venue was where Hendrix ‘played Clapton off the stage’ according to Hendrix’s manager Chas Chandler. Hendrix jammed there with Clapton’s band, Cream, in October 1966. The building is now part of the University of Westminster.
DeLane Lea Studios
These recording studios, now based in Dean Street, were where Hendrix cut many of his singles with his band The Experience, including 1967’s ‘Purple Haze’.
Royal Albert Hall
The RAH was venue for two of Hendrix’s most famous London shows, on February 18 and 24, 1969. A new recording of the February 18 performance recently resurfaced.
Hendrix died in Notting Hill’s Hotel Samarkand in 1970, but it was the Cumberland Hotel, near Marble Arch that was his last known address. The hotel now has a special Jimi Hendrix memorial suite.
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