Hendrix in Britain <em>and</em> Handel's house

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The Independent Culture

By all accounts iconic ‘70s rock star Jimi Hendrix and eighteenth century classical composer George Frideric Handel, are pretty dissimilar. But there is a surprising connection between the musical pair: they lived at the same address in Mayfair, London, albeit 209 years apart.

The Brook Street address where Handel resided for 36 years until his death in 1759, and where Hendrix lived between 1968 and 1969, will be opened to the public next month in commemoration of the 40 years since Hendrix’s death.

The surprisingly modest looking flat, which currently serves as administrative offices for the Handel House Museum, will be cleared out and in its place a haul of Hendrix memorabilia will be installed as part of the ‘Hendrix in Britain’ exhibition.

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Among the items on display will be handwritten ‘Stepping Stone’ lyrics, a brightly coloured Dandie Fashions velvet jacket, Hendrix’s scrawled travel directions to the Isle of Wight Festival, and one of his signature Westerner hats.

“After moving to Brook Street in 1968 Hendrix learned of the Handel connection with the building and headed to One Stop Records and HMV to pick up whichever records of Handel’s music he could find,” said Sarah Bardwell, director of Handel House Museum.

“Clearly he was intrigued by the connection.”

The building carries English Heritage blue plaques for both Handel and Hendrix. It would have cost Handel £60 a year to rent the whole house, and Hendrix £30 per week for just the attic flat.

The exhibition runs from next Friday until early November, but the Brook Street apartment will only be open to visitors between the 15 and 26 September.

Hendrix in Britain opens 25 August until 7 November 2010 - 23 Brook Street opens 15 to 26 September, Handel House Museum, Brook Street, London, Admission £4.50