People
Simon Daniels

This will be an engaging, accessible and permanent testament to the fact that London was home to one of the world’s greatest ever composers


Handel & Hendrix in London has begun a £3m project to restore Handel’s London home and launch new exhibitions about the German-British Baroque composer, as well as the rock legend Jimi Hendrix, who lived in the flat next door.

Handel & Hendrix in London cares for and presents to the public the homes of the two musicians – George Frideric Handel lived at 25 Brook Street from 1723 until his death in 1759, while Jimi Hendrix moved into number 23 in 1968.

Once complete, the project will enable the public to explore all of Handel’s house for the first time by restoring the basement and ground floor. Called the Hallelujah Project, the £3m works will recreate Handel’s basement kitchen, restore the ground floor parlours in which Handel would receive his guests and restore the front façade of 25 Brook Street so visitors can enter Handel’s home through his front door.

When the museum reopens in May this year, new features will include historic rooms presented as they might have been in the 1740s and recently acquired works of art, creating a collection representative of the more than 100 works of art Handel had hanging in Brook Street, as well as new exhibitions about Handel’s music and a mixed reality audiovisual display about the writing of Messiah in the room in which it was composed.

Visitors will be able to hear live music performed in the rooms in which it was written and sometimes performed, and the museum will also host concerts. masterclasses and exclusive private events.

“Handel’s home has been recognised as a monument of great importance since the mid 19th-century, however, this did not protect the building from unsympathetic development,” said Simon Daniels, director of Handel & Hendrix. “As the composer Algernon Ashton bitterly complained in the press ‘the beautiful old house, which was splendidly preserved, has been spoilt beyond recognition.’

“Restoring Handel’s house to its original appearance was an idea  revived by musicologist Stanley Sadie in 1959. After 63 years, the Hallelujah  Project will finally realise this noble ambition and ensure 25 Brook Street is an  engaging, accessible and permanent testament to the fact that London was home to one of the world’s greatest ever composers.”

Jimi Hendrix’s flat in 23 Brook Street was restored and opened to the public in 2016, featuring exhibitions about the musician and furnished as it would have been when he lived there. Hendrix entertained and collaborated with other 1960s rock icons at the flat, and described it as “my first real home of my own.”

As part of the Hallelujah Project, the Hendrix experience at Handel & Hendrix in  London is being expanded, with a new exhibition exploring Hendrix’s legendary guitar technique. Visitors will also able to walk up and down the stairs to his flat for the first time, passing the spot where George Harrison famously had to step over one of Hendrix’s other visitors who had passed out en route to the exit.

Here Attractions Management speaks to Daniels about the highs and lows of this unique project.

Q&A: Simon Daniels
Director of Handel & Hendrix in London
Photo: Handel and Hendrix in London
How will this project improve the Handel & Hendrix in London experience for visitors?

When we opened the re-created Hendrix flat in 2016, we found that people craved a similarly rich and immersive experience in Handel’s home. Access was very difficult and disorientating for visitors, who arrived at the first floor of Handel’s house via a modern entrance. The Hallelujah Project will change all of that.

Visitors will enter via Handel’s own front door, the Georgian street front of his house having been immaculately restored. Once inside, they’ll be immersed in Handel’s home as it might have been in the 1740s: beautifully lit using sconces and candlesticks, art will adorn the walls in shimmering gilt frames and everywhere there will be signs that Handel himself has just stepped out in the middle of a busy day’s work.

What will make the experience special?

The stories of our two incredible musicians. Visitors will hear about their lives from our volunteers, through interpretation and via a digital visitor guide.

The opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves first in Handel’s 18th century and then Hendrix’s 1960s will be completely unforgettable. Hearing live performances by outstanding musicians – baroque music in Handel’s dining room and rock music in Jimi’s bedroom – will be an incredible experience: hearing music where it was written and first performed.

How will the experience bring visitors closer to Hendrix and Handel?

We’ll be offering a fresh look at both Handel and Hendrix as musicians. In the drawing room, the room in which Handel composed, we’re creating a mixed reality audio-visual installation to explore the writing of Messiah in 1741 to give an insight into how he went about writing music. It will be completely immersive and unlike anything visitors will have experienced before.

Elsewhere, a new exhibition will use sound and film to explore Hendrix’s pioneering and peerless guitar technique and some of his legendary performances. The room will be dressed like a 1960s ‘green room’ and there will be an opportunity for people to share their own memories of seeing Jimi Hendrix or tell us about how he has influenced them as musicians, artists and people.

What are the biggest challenges of this project and what are you most looking forward to?

Our construction partner, Messenger, faces the biggest challenges of this project. It’s a big scheme on a tiny site, with no room for storage of supplies or equipment. I take my hat off to the site manager and team for how they rise to the occasion every day.

What I am most excited about? After 18 months of construction work, I can’t wait to see the house full of staff, volunteers and visitors, while beautiful live music fills the air.

Fast facts

• Handel & Hendrix in London is owned by The Handel House Trust

• The project is being funded by charitable grants and private donations

• Interpretation design is by Outside Studios, AV by Elbow Productions, the construction partner is Messenger and the architect is Peregrine Bryant

• The museum will reopen in May 2023

• Tickets will be £10 for adults and £5 for children

• Dwell time will be one to one-and-a-half hours

• Capacity will be 50 people per hour

Jimi Hendrix moved into number 23 Brook Street, London in 1968 Credit: Photo: Barrie Wentzell
Live music will be performed in Handel’s dining room Credit: Photo: Michael Bowles Handel & Hendrix in London
Visitors will enter the museum via Handel’s front door Credit: Photo: Handel & Hendrix in London
An artist’s impression of Handel’s front parlour at 25 Brook St Credit: Photo: Handel & Hendrix in London
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2023 issue 1

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Simon Daniels

People

Simon Daniels


This will be an engaging, accessible and permanent testament to the fact that London was home to one of the world’s greatest ever composers

Jimi Hendrix moved into number 23 Brook Street, London in 1968 Photo: Barrie Wentzell
Visitors can view Hendrix’s flat as it would have looked when he lived there Photo: Michael Bowles-Handel & Hendrix in London
Live music will be performed in Handel’s dining room Photo: Michael Bowles Handel & Hendrix in London
Visitors will enter the museum via Handel’s front door Photo: Handel & Hendrix in London
An artist’s impression of Handel’s front parlour at 25 Brook St Photo: Handel & Hendrix in London

Handel & Hendrix in London has begun a £3m project to restore Handel’s London home and launch new exhibitions about the German-British Baroque composer, as well as the rock legend Jimi Hendrix, who lived in the flat next door.

Handel & Hendrix in London cares for and presents to the public the homes of the two musicians – George Frideric Handel lived at 25 Brook Street from 1723 until his death in 1759, while Jimi Hendrix moved into number 23 in 1968.

Once complete, the project will enable the public to explore all of Handel’s house for the first time by restoring the basement and ground floor. Called the Hallelujah Project, the £3m works will recreate Handel’s basement kitchen, restore the ground floor parlours in which Handel would receive his guests and restore the front façade of 25 Brook Street so visitors can enter Handel’s home through his front door.

When the museum reopens in May this year, new features will include historic rooms presented as they might have been in the 1740s and recently acquired works of art, creating a collection representative of the more than 100 works of art Handel had hanging in Brook Street, as well as new exhibitions about Handel’s music and a mixed reality audiovisual display about the writing of Messiah in the room in which it was composed.

Visitors will be able to hear live music performed in the rooms in which it was written and sometimes performed, and the museum will also host concerts. masterclasses and exclusive private events.

“Handel’s home has been recognised as a monument of great importance since the mid 19th-century, however, this did not protect the building from unsympathetic development,” said Simon Daniels, director of Handel & Hendrix. “As the composer Algernon Ashton bitterly complained in the press ‘the beautiful old house, which was splendidly preserved, has been spoilt beyond recognition.’

“Restoring Handel’s house to its original appearance was an idea  revived by musicologist Stanley Sadie in 1959. After 63 years, the Hallelujah  Project will finally realise this noble ambition and ensure 25 Brook Street is an  engaging, accessible and permanent testament to the fact that London was home to one of the world’s greatest ever composers.”

Jimi Hendrix’s flat in 23 Brook Street was restored and opened to the public in 2016, featuring exhibitions about the musician and furnished as it would have been when he lived there. Hendrix entertained and collaborated with other 1960s rock icons at the flat, and described it as “my first real home of my own.”

As part of the Hallelujah Project, the Hendrix experience at Handel & Hendrix in  London is being expanded, with a new exhibition exploring Hendrix’s legendary guitar technique. Visitors will also able to walk up and down the stairs to his flat for the first time, passing the spot where George Harrison famously had to step over one of Hendrix’s other visitors who had passed out en route to the exit.

Here Attractions Management speaks to Daniels about the highs and lows of this unique project.

Q&A: Simon Daniels
Director of Handel & Hendrix in London
Photo: Handel and Hendrix in London
How will this project improve the Handel & Hendrix in London experience for visitors?

When we opened the re-created Hendrix flat in 2016, we found that people craved a similarly rich and immersive experience in Handel’s home. Access was very difficult and disorientating for visitors, who arrived at the first floor of Handel’s house via a modern entrance. The Hallelujah Project will change all of that.

Visitors will enter via Handel’s own front door, the Georgian street front of his house having been immaculately restored. Once inside, they’ll be immersed in Handel’s home as it might have been in the 1740s: beautifully lit using sconces and candlesticks, art will adorn the walls in shimmering gilt frames and everywhere there will be signs that Handel himself has just stepped out in the middle of a busy day’s work.

What will make the experience special?

The stories of our two incredible musicians. Visitors will hear about their lives from our volunteers, through interpretation and via a digital visitor guide.

The opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves first in Handel’s 18th century and then Hendrix’s 1960s will be completely unforgettable. Hearing live performances by outstanding musicians – baroque music in Handel’s dining room and rock music in Jimi’s bedroom – will be an incredible experience: hearing music where it was written and first performed.

How will the experience bring visitors closer to Hendrix and Handel?

We’ll be offering a fresh look at both Handel and Hendrix as musicians. In the drawing room, the room in which Handel composed, we’re creating a mixed reality audio-visual installation to explore the writing of Messiah in 1741 to give an insight into how he went about writing music. It will be completely immersive and unlike anything visitors will have experienced before.

Elsewhere, a new exhibition will use sound and film to explore Hendrix’s pioneering and peerless guitar technique and some of his legendary performances. The room will be dressed like a 1960s ‘green room’ and there will be an opportunity for people to share their own memories of seeing Jimi Hendrix or tell us about how he has influenced them as musicians, artists and people.

What are the biggest challenges of this project and what are you most looking forward to?

Our construction partner, Messenger, faces the biggest challenges of this project. It’s a big scheme on a tiny site, with no room for storage of supplies or equipment. I take my hat off to the site manager and team for how they rise to the occasion every day.

What I am most excited about? After 18 months of construction work, I can’t wait to see the house full of staff, volunteers and visitors, while beautiful live music fills the air.

Fast facts

• Handel & Hendrix in London is owned by The Handel House Trust

• The project is being funded by charitable grants and private donations

• Interpretation design is by Outside Studios, AV by Elbow Productions, the construction partner is Messenger and the architect is Peregrine Bryant

• The museum will reopen in May 2023

• Tickets will be £10 for adults and £5 for children

• Dwell time will be one to one-and-a-half hours

• Capacity will be 50 people per hour


Originally published in Attractions Management 2023 issue 1

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