The musical pioneer Jimi Hendrix will now have his own museum in a very fitting location – of a flat in London where he lived in the late 1960s. So the place where Hendrix slept, entertained and played his records loudly is now open to the public.
The flat, which has been used as an office space since, has been taken over by the Handel House Trust, who have been granted the resources to restore it permanently and add visitor facilities so it can function as a proper museum.
The guitar hero moved into 23 Brook Street in 1968 which was found for him by Jimi’s girlfriend at the time, Kathy Etchingham. More than 45 years later the bedroom/living room has been recreated to the exact way Hendrix had it, even down to the empty bottle of Mateus rose.
After finishing the display the museum staff showed Kathy, who explained that it was ‘far too untidy’. Jimi, who had spent a few years in the army, was obsessively neat. Although the room was decorated in hippyish fabrics and embroidered silk, the bed was always meticulously made.
Hendrix had a keen interest in the interior of his home and Kathy recalled how he sometimes startled shoppers that recognised him in the fabrics department of John Lewis. However the one room in the flat that wasn’t used very much was the kitchen. This is because room service was supplied by Mr Love’s, the restaurant downstairs, whose waiters would take up regular orders of steak, chips and cigarettes (I assume not all mixed together).
Another room at the museum has a wall of album covers and an index of the music played on the turntable. Some of Hendrix’s own collection are being loaned to the museum next autumn, including a copy of Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited that has been stained with some of Jimi’s blood.
The museum staff hope that the opening of Jimi Hendrix’s flat will give people an added insight into the life and work of someone whose actions have been examined no end, since his death in 1970. The Hendrix Museum, which neighbours the former London home of George Frideric Handel, officially opened yesterday. Both of these properties are the only homes of Hendrix and Handel that still exist. Although only living in the property for around a year, in between tours and visits to the US, the guitar legend described the flat as his ‘first real home’.