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Hendrix exhibit set for Handel House Museum

Staff at the London museum devoted to baroque composer George Frederick Handel will throw open their doors this fall for fans of another musical genius: Jimi Hendrix.
German-born composer George Frederick Handel and American rock guitar icon Jimi Hendrix lived in the same London townhouse, just over 200 years apart. ((Erich Auerbach/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) )

Staff at the London museum devoted to baroque composer George Frederick Handel will throw open their doors this fall for fans of another musical genius: Jimi Hendrix.

London's Handel House Museum will host Hendrix in Britain — a new exhibition exploring the life, music and enduring legacy of the guitar legend — as part of the city's commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Hendrix's death on Sept. 18.

For nearly four decades, German-born Handel lived in London, in the narrow Georgian townhouse where the Handel House Museum is now located. He composed his famous Messiah there and died in his bedroom in 1759.

Just over 200 years later, guitar legend Hendrix rented out an apartment on the townhouse's top floor with his English girlfriend and lived there for two years.

"This is my first real home of my own," Hendrix wrote of his flat in 1968.

Hendrix learned of the home's musical history when he lived there, and the building's Handel connection apparently inspired him to purchase a host of the composer's recordings, museum officials said.

"Clearly, he was intrigued by the connection and we're pleased to be celebrating his own legacy today," said Handel House director Sarah Bardwell.

After the townhouse was restored, the Handel musuem officially opened in 2001. Hendrix's former flat ended up as administration space and is not typically open to the public — though many visitors often request to see the space. The flat will be open to visitors from Sept. 15 to 26.

The museum's staffers will temporarily relocate their office space to other areas of the building for the duration of the upcoming Hendrix exhibition.

Hendrix in Britain runs Aug. 25 to Nov. 7.

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