From pop to rock, from soul to baroque, London has always been a leader in the world music scene. The Athenaeum Hotel and Residences in the heart of Mayfair is an ideal place to explore London’s rich music heritage.
The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences has played host to many musicians over the years (Take That announced their breakup from one of our suites) and some of the world’s musical greats have a connection with our neighbourhood. They are commemorated through a series of blue plaques.
To visit all the plaques below takes around 1 and a half hours at a brisk stroll, but it’s perfectly possible to cheat and take a black cab. We’ve included a link to each location, but don’t forget that getting lost is just another name for exploring.
Felix Mendlessohn, described as ‘the greatest musical genius since Mozart’ and ‘the most amiable man’ by Queen Victoria, once stayed in the building. During his time here he had dinner with the likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Charles Dickens. Mendlessohn travelled widely and made 10 visits to Britain.
Frederic Chopin spent three weeks at number 4 St James Place preparing for what turned out to be his final recital by sitting wrapped in his coat in front of the fire. He was under the care of London’s leading homeopath and the Royal Physician who was a specialist in tuberculosis. A week after the concert he returned to Paris and died the following year.
#3 Hendrix & #4 Handel
These two unique musical talents, separated by 200 years, are commemorated by adjacent blue plaques in this amazing shopping district of Mayfair. Jimi Hendrix and George Frideric Handel lived and composed in these houses, and today you can attend a concert or learn to play guitar like Hendrix in these historic buildings.
This building in Montagu Square has been home to Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon, who is commemorated with a Blue Plaque outside. Paul and Ringo were famously pictured outside the flat waiting for John Lennon’s Rolls Royce to take them to the palace and recieve their MBEs from the Queen.