History of the Handel House Trust

The possibility of converting Handel’s house into a museum to commemorate the life and work of the composer had been investigated many times in the early 20th-century. In 1959, at a party in the Viyella offices to commemorate the bicentenary of Handel’s death, the musicologist Stanley Sadie revived the idea. But it was not until the early 1990s that Stanley and his wife Julie Anne were able to form the Handel House Trust, to raise funds for the purchase of the building and its restoration.

As the first phase of the Master Plan, again assisted by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, a new studio space, extended lift access to all floors and additional visitor facilities were developed and opened in February 2016

They gathered together a Committee of Honour made up of distinguished musicians and other supporters to help the fundraising efforts and lend their name to the project. In April 1996 the Trust was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, and negotiations were opened with the Co-operative Insurance Society, who had held the freehold since 1971, for the purchase of the lease. Initially it was hoped that the whole of 25 Brook Street and the upper floors of 23 Brook Street would be purchased for the new museum. However, at the time the freeholders decided not to release the retail unit on the ground floor of 25.

In June 2000, The Handel House Trust signed the lease for the upper floors of Nos. 25 and 23 Brook Street and within a month, construction work began. After extensive renovation work, the Handel House Museum opened to the public on 8 November 2001.

In 2007 the Handel House Trust acquired a 999 year lease for the whole of 25 Brook Street, and a two-stage Master Plan was developed to restore Jimi Hendrix’s flat on the upper floors of 23 Brook Street, and the ground floor and basement of Handel’s house at 25 Brook Street. As the first phase of the Master Plan, again assisted by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, a new studio space, extended lift access to all floors and additional visitor facilities were developed and opened in February 2016. The second phase, which will restore Handel’s ground floor and basement will follow in the coming years.