Handel & Hendrix in London
Located in bustling Mayfair is another lovely historic house museum! Or perhaps more accurately a historic apartment museum as there are shops below. This museum is sort of a two-for-one situation as it is devoted to not ONE but TWO great musicians- Jimi Hendrix and George Frideric Handel.
These two musicians only lived a wall (and 200 hundred years) apart! Handel’s flat is on two levels and is a fair bit bigger than Hendrix’s. For those of you who don’t know much about Handel – let’s just say he was a BIG deal in London. He wrote operas, concerts and even tutored the Royal Princesses in music. The museum was his home for over 36 years while Jimi Hendrix leased his flat for little over a year or so.
Both flats have their own exhibition space along with the rooms that are presented as if Handel or Hendrix could walk back in at any moment. I really enjoyed that their music was playing throughout. Both exhibition spaces also had headphones to listen to the music displayed/ discussed in the text. It was lovely!
Handel’s bedroom! One pleasantly surprising thing was how accessible the building is! They have an elevator that goes to all four floors along with plenty of seating. That is pretty unusual for old house museums.
Hendrix’s flat! One of the many things I learned was that Jimi liked to host people at his place. He did lots of jam sessions, photoshoots and interviews there. Which means there was a ton of material for the curators to work with when recreating the flat. They also worked closely with Jimi’s partner as the time- Kathy Etchingham. Her voice is all around the exhibition space and it’s nice to see her get her due.
I really loved the Hendrix record room! It was really beautifully done and showed off his collection. Notice how Handel made his way in? Hendrix bought some Handel records after moving into the flat. It was a really nice connection that ties the houses together.
I want to also give a shout-out to the shop and the volunteers (staff?)! Everyone was really kind and helpful. The shop is wicked cool- they had specialty candles made named after Handel and Hendrix! So clever! There was also a dress up station that was pretty cool. And they have a composer in residence along with holding concerts there.
Pros: Great space, well done exhibitions, good use of sound effects, nice overall cohesive narrative, good for all ages, wheelchair accessible!, adorable shop, fun activities, nice events programs
Cons: The entrance is just a door so keep an eye out or you’ll miss it!