About The Project

Handel House at 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, is a very special place

It is where the great composer, Handel, lived for 36 years – from 1723 to 1759 – and where he wrote many of his most famous masterpieces, including Messiah. But at the moment only half the house is open to the public. The Hallelujah Project will complete this important little jewel of our musical heritage – so that future generations will be able to enjoy it in perpetuity.

So much genius in such a small place…

The Georgian house at 25 Brook Street is unique in the musical heritage of the world:

  • Nowhere else can you find a home where one of the greatest composers of all time lived for well over thirty six years, and wrote so many masterpieces.
  • Entering the hallowed space where he wrote Messiah in just 24 days as well as hundreds of other best-loved works and listening to his music in the place where it was first created, offers a tangible connection to the towering genius himself.

This is a precious historic place in need of completion, so that future generations can enjoy it in its entirety.

Rarely does an opportunity arise to contribute to a gem of a project such as this, so valuable to the international cultural landscape.

We hope you will be inspired to become part of this exciting endeavour and take pride in this everlasting jewel in the heart of London.

This restored house will not only commemorate the great man, but will also carry on bringing the joy of his incomparable music to visitors in perpetuity.

The Building

Handel was the first occupant of 25 Brook Street. He moved in in 1723, when it was newly built. The Hallelujah Project will put back his home as closely as possible to exactly how it would have been when the great man himself lived here.

When the house is completed:

  • the façade will be returned to their original state
  • Handel’s two ground floor parlours (where he received visitors and sometimes sold his musical scores) will be restored as they would have been when he lived here
  • the Georgian kitchen in the basement will be fully re-created, with the help of a detailed inventory of its contents that was taken when Handel died
  • the front door and original staircase at 25 Brook Street will once more become the main entrance for all visitors, as they were for Handel himself
  • The rooms throughout will be dressed accurately with Georgian contents
  • Top-quality Georgian-style lighting will be installed throughout the historic rooms to re-create the impression of 18th-century candlelight
  • A specially commissioned replica of Handel’s chamber organ (currently housed at St George’s church) will be brought back to the house where it belongs

Meticulous standards of historical accuracy will be applied to the project, based on records and inventories from the time. The Georgian Group will be closely involved throughout the planning and delivery of the project. And experts on all aspects of 18th-century life and music will be consulted from start to finish.

The Experience

Our mission as a charity is to share the greatness of Handel and his music with as many people as possible, whatever their age or background.

In addition to restoring the building, the Hallelujah Project will enable us to enrich the magic of the house for everyone who comes here – our general visitors, professional Baroque musicians who perform here, and the many groups who take part in our learning programmes for children, students, visually impaired musicians, members of the local community as well as many others.

These are just some of our plans:

  • Interpretation: Subtle new technology – including the clever use of music and sound – will be introduced in the Exhibition Spaces to provide visitors with an interactive way to experience the great composer’s genius
  • Activities: Baroque concerts, talks, masterclasses, music performed in 18th-century costume, site specific theatre and other imaginative events will bring the house alive, drawing visitors back time and again to enjoy this inspirational place.
  • Learning: We will be able to introduce an exciting range of new projects, building on our established reputation for providing exceptionally high-quality learning programmes.
    Click here to find out more about our plans for future Learning Programmes.

The Finances

The Business Model

Before embarking on the Hallelujah Project, the Trust had to create a business model that would ensure that the charity would remain financially sustainable after re-possessing these two floors, in order to return them to the state in which they would have been found when they comprised the downstairs section of Handel’s original home.

The Covid-19 crisis in 2020 brought about changes in the financial planning for the Hallelujah Project, and trustees adopted a new, adjusted business model taking into account the collapse in high street retail and the loss of our previous commercial tenant earlier than anticipated.

In expectation that retail rents may not pick up again in the near future, even in Mayfair, the original plan to create a secondary rental unit at the back of the building facing Lancashire Court was dropped and this section of the building will instead be reincorporated into the museum to house cloakrooms and an events kitchen.

The loss of the tenant meant that the Trust regained possession of the ground floor and basement of 25 Brook Street earlier than expected. This, together with the good fortune of receiving a substantial legacy, enabled the Trust to bring forward the proposed start of the building works whilst still being confident of long-term financial security for the charity. All being well, building work is now scheduled to begin in August or September 2021 with a view to re-opening in spring 2023.

Planning permission has been applied for and RIBA stage 3 completed. Project Costs not yet incurred are now capped at £2.75m. In addition the Trust aims to build up its reserves and endowments to at least £4m.

To date £4m has been raised, and a further £1m is expected from legacies due to be paid out. A fundraising target to raise a further £2m over the next three years has been set by the trustees in order to protect the Trust’s finances for the long term.