The flat on the upper floors of 23 Brook Street was found by Jimi’s girlfriend Kathy Etchingham from an advert in one of the London evening newspapers in June 1968 while he was in New York. He moved in briefly in July before returning to the United States for an extensive tour. He spent some time decorating the flat to his own taste, including purchasing curtains and cushions from the nearby John Lewis department store, as well as ornaments and knickknacks from Portobello Road market and elsewhere. He told Kathy that this was ‘my first real home of my own’.
He returned to Brook Street in January 1969 and almost immediately launched into an exhaustive series of press and media interviews and photo shoots in the flat. On 4 January he made his infamous appearance on the BBC Happening for Lulu TV show, and gave his two Royal Albert Hall concerts in February. In March he was back in New York again and although Kathy remained at Brook Street for a while longer Jimi did not live there again.
Over the years the flat was used as office space until it was taken over in 2000 by the Handel House Trust. The intention of the Trust at the time was to restore the Hendrix flat alongside the restoration of Handel’s house next door at 25 Brook Street, but this proved to be unachievable at the time. Instead, the space became the administrative offices of the Handel House Museum. From 2006 to 2013 the rooms were opened to the public as part of the Open House Weekend, and in 2010 as part of the exhibition Hendrix in London they were open to visitors for 12 days.
In 2014 the Handel House Trust was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore the Hendrix Flat permanently, as well as creating a new studio space and improving visitor facilities. The Flat opened to the public on Wednesday 10 February 2016.
Image © Barrie Wentzell