Jimi Hendrix’s London flat overlooking Mayfair’s Brook Street is opening to the public tomorrow (August 25th) for the Hendrix In Britain exhibition. The exhibition – which is being mounted by the Handel House Museum (Hendrix and Handel were temporally dislocated neighbours) – is a cosy affair, amounting to a costume, a guitar, some great photos, handwritten lyric sheets, posters (‘The Fabulous Walker Brothers/Cat Stevens/Jimi Hendrix/Englebert Humperdinck’), notes, including directions to the Isle of Wight for the famous festival, and his death certificate (’cause of death: vomit’).
Hendrix’s actual flat is now the Handel House Museum offices, but they will be moving out for two weeks in September so the public can have tours of the quite spacious flat Hendrix lived in with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. The museum hopes to open this flat to the public permanently when they manage to raise sufficient funding and get all the hash burns out of the carpets.
My favourite part of the exhibition was the giant map of Hendrix’s London that takes up one wall, with stickers donating key venues, hotels and apartments. Opposite is a list of the major concerts Hendrix played during his three years in London before his death. I was pleased to note that alongside the more famous clubs – Scotch of St James, the Marquee, the Astoria and the Royal Albert Hall – Hendrix found time to play the suburbs, including Bromley Court Hotel, Ricky Tick in Hounslow, Upper Cut in Forest Gate, the Ram Jam Club on Brixton Road, Granada Theatre in Tooting, Star Hotel in Croydon, Bluesville ’67 on Green Lanes, and the Orchid Ballroom, Purley.
Hendrix in Purley, now that’s a side of swinging London you don’t hear much about these days.
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Jimi wasn’t bad.
I’d put him right up there with Stevie Ray.
Reminds me a little of Bob Dylan’s stay in London winter of 1962/3, where he lodged with someone in Hampstead, was found stoned, asleep, under a parked car in the snow, played coffeebars on Charing Cross Road, but also – allegedly – played a gig at the Surbiton Assembly Rooms!
I remember Jimi playing one midweek night (Monday?) at the Star Hotel in West Croydon.The stage was tiny of course and the place was frequented by a bunch of us on a regular basis. It held about 100 people and today wouldbe classified as a total fire risk! I believe Jimi also did the Greyhound in Central Croydon once (Thursday & Sunday nights usually for gigs).I have read he also played in Purley – probably at the Orchid ballroom,but I don’t recall that myself.
I saw & heard Jimi Hendrix at The RamJam Club in Brixton – it must have been 1966 -67, It completely blew me away. I had never heard anything like it before. The most exciting & dynamic performer I had heard up to then. I also saw the Who there – was there at the Opening Night with both The Animals & Geno Washington. Saw The Cream there too – just a great Club for live music. I was into the whole Mod thing at the time & enjoyed all the Soul & R&B around. Ended up playing there myself – with The Healers – backing up The Ethiopians – Train To Skaville. We played all the Clubs around at the time.
I used to live round the corner from the Orchid Ballroom. By then (late 70s) it was called Cinderella Rockefellas. But it’s place in pop history is solid, as it’s where Marc Bolan met Mickey Finn. Goodbye Tyrannosaurus Rex, hello T Rex.
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I was a regular atThe Star when Hendrix played. Also saw Chicken Shack, Fleetwood Mac, and Jethro Tull, who had a residency there before moving to The Marquee. Base guitarist Glen Cornick’s family ran a pub in Thornton Heath.