Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Inside Jimi Hendrix's London Flat-turned-museum
CTV National News: Hendrix's London home restored
Jimi Hendrix's former London apartment has been transformed into a tribute museum to the late guitar legend. Paul Workman reports.

Michael Shulman, CTVNews.ca
Saturday, February 13, 2016 10:02PM EST

The London apartment that American rockstar Jimi Hendrix once called home decades ago has been restored and opened to the public.

Hendrix moved into the 23 Brook St. residence, in the city's west-end neighbourhood of Mayfair, in 1968.

The apartment is just one door down from the former residence of George Frideric Handel.

The Handle House Museum was originally erected on the property to honour the home where the famed composer lived for 36 years. The Hendrix Flat has been incorporated into the exhibition, and the rockstar's residence was opened to the public earlier this week.

After millions of dollars in renovations, the electrifying guitarist's apartment has been restored to its former glory. Rugs on the floor, wall hangings, old records and guitar lying on the bed have all been placed to mimic the original décor and send visitors on a trip back in time.

Michelle Aland, the museum's director, said the building's historic past was part its appeal for Hendrix.

"He really thought that the spirit of music was in this flat," said Aland.

"He said he felt the spirt of Handel, and once thought he saw Handel actually in the mirror. He thought he saw a ghost."

"Messiah," which is likely one of the most famous pieces of classical music in the world, was written by Handel in the home. He also died in the residence in 1759.

Kathy Etchingham, Hendrix's live-in girlfriend in the 1960s, recalled Hendrix's initial reaction to seeing the apartment.

"It had a yucky, grey carpet, and as soon as Jimi saw the carpet he said: 'That's got to go.'"
Etchingham was the inspiration for Hendrix's 1967 hit "Foxy Lady."

She said the apartment was a "great retreat" to hide away from the outside world.

The museum's curators were able to reconstruct the apartment's décor thanks to the photography of Barrie Wentzell. The English photographer famously snapped shots of Hendrix jamming out in the bedroom with the likes of Beatles guitarist George Harrison and other rock legends.

"He was only around for four years, and he made it here in England," said Wentzell.

"(He) had a short but amazing life."

Hendrix died in London in September 1970, at the age of 27.

Etchingham said the exhibition is a touching tribute to the late rockstar's life.

"It's just a wonderful thing that the English people have done for him," she said.

"They made him a star and immortalized him."

With a report from CTV National News' London bureau chief Paul Workman

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