Jimi Hendrix apartment opens to public

Replica items, including a guitar, in the bedroom of the home in which Jimi Hendrix and his girlfriend lived in 1968-69 in London. The third-floor Mayfair flat open to the public this week. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON - The London apartment in which Jimi Hendrix lived more than 45 years ago has opened to the public, restored to look just how the rock star used it.

In July 1968 Hendrix moved into the apartment on the upper floors of 23 Brook Street - next to the house composer George Frideric Handel had lived in centuries earlier - after his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham saw it advertised in a newspaper.

Hendrix, who died in 1970 aged 27, wrote music, rehearsed and gave interviews there. He told Etchingham it was his "first real home of my own" and decorated the place himself with bright curtains, cushions and lots of ornaments.

In London's upmarket Mayfair neighbourhood, the house has undergone a two-year, 2.4-million pound (R55-million) restoration and is now part of the "Handel & Hendrix in London" heritage site celebrating the two musicians.

With rugs on the floor, hangings on the walls, old records and newspapers on display as well as a guitar lying on a colourful bed spread, the apartment is a trip back in time for Etchingham.

"Well it's quite strange ... 45 years on to be sitting in the same room you were sitting in when you were 22 years old but it's very much as it was," she told Reuters during a visit to the apartment.

"I don't feel emotional about it, I just feel ... it's a job well done and it's something that people wouldn't normally have got to see, they can now see it ... For me, this is like stepping back 45 years or more."

Hendrix lived in the apartment for several periods in 1968 and 1969. In March 1969 he went to New York while Etchingham stayed on at the apartment for a while. It later served as office space before the Handel House Trust took it over in 2000.

Handel lived in the house next door for 36 years and wrote works, including Messiah, there. He died at his home in 1759.

"Handel & Hendrix in London" features both homes as well as a show looking at Hendrix's London life in the late-1960s.


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