The London home of eccentric, famed, beloved rockstar Jimi Hendrix has opened its doors to public displays of admiration this February. The eclectically designed third-floor apartment at 23 Brook Street is where Hendrix lived from 1968 to 1969 with then-girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, following completion of his 1968 US tour. Together, Hendrix and Etchingham filled their home with trinkets of from their travels, alongside furniture and art they purchased while living in the Mayfair district. Hendrix’s apartment also happens to be situated directly next door to famed composer George Frideric Handel’s former residence, separated only by the decades in which the musicians lived. Now, the two homes make up Handel & Hendrix of London, an organization that works to preserve the legacies of these two musicians. Michelle Aland, director of Handel & Hendrix, says of the recent opening, “[Hendrix] loved the fashion and music scene in London and his Brook Street flat enabled him to watch live music in Soho, shop at Liberty and visit the guitar shops in the neighborhood.”
To recreate the same worldly vibe as when Hendrix and Etchingham inhabited the flat, Handel & Hendrix called upon an assortment of photographs and interviews with former houseguests about the parties, music, and general feel of the place. In addition to collecting original items that had occupied the home, including Hendrix’s Epiphone FT79 acoustic guitar, various custom pieces were created for the opening. These pieces include a colorful woven bedspread by textile designers Wallace & Sewell of London, and a handcrafted replica of Hendrix’s ‘Smoker’s Bow’ Windsor chair by English furniture makers Bates and Lambourne. Together, Bates and Lambourne have over thirty years of experience in handmade wooden furniture, and reconstructed the Windsor chair from photographs of the musician entertaining guests at 23 Brook Street.
For Hendrix, 23 Brook Street was always more than a just a peaceful place to seclude from his growing fame. The apartment was a creative space for the musician to write music, give interviews, rehearse, and generally entertain. Now, thanks to Hendrix & Handel and countless other contributors, his legacy lives on in the only officially recognized Hendrix residence in the world. Images courtesy of Hendrix & Handel.