A timeline for the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra

Who's Who in this timeline?

  • Madame Marie Reymond  - nee Caren Maria Elisabeth Holst  born in Copenhagen, Denmark - founder of the NSSO.
  • John Cope - first conductor of the NSSO, mentored by and protege of  Madame Reymond and later adopted by her.
  • Jean Reymond - husband of Madame Marie Reymond.
  • Fredrik Idon Holst - father of Caren Maria Elisabeth Holst (later Madame Marie Reymond). Holst is also known as Frederick and sometimes simply Idon.
  • Juliane Marie Holst - wife of Frederik Idon Holst
  • James Cope - father of John Cope.

We don't know exactly when or why the Holst family of Copenhagen, Denmark, arrived in England.

Dates of interest 

According to his gravestone, Fredrik Idon Holst, (father of Karen Maria Elisabeth Holst, later to become Madame Marie Reymond) is born in Copenhagen, Denmark.*

According to the UK census of 1901, Fredrik Idon Holst was born in 1820. But according to the UK census of 1891, Fredrik Idon Holst was born in 1822, this is also his date of birth in the Danish 1860 census. So dates are confused about the birth of Fredrik.

 According to her gravestone, Juliana Mariah (mother of Madame Marie Reymond) is born.

According to her gravestone Madame Marie Reymond (Karen Marie Elisabeth Holst) is born.
She has 8 siblings, 6 of them girls. [needs confirming] *

1856 is another date recorded for the birth of  Madame Marie Reymond (Karen Marie Elisabeth Holst). [needs confirming]  Also, according to the UK census of 1901 she is born in 1857.

According to the Danish census records, the Holst family is recorded living in Copenhagen at No.15 Vimmelskaftet. Frederik Idon Holst is a Master Cooper, aged 38. His wife is Juliane Marie Holst (nee Petersen) born in Kallundborg, a Danish city, 103 km east of Copenhagen. In the household are 6 children, all girls,  Wilhelmine 14, Agata Camila 12, Julie Adelaide 10, Juta Frederike Amalie 7, Caren Maria Elisabeth 2, and newly born Jelva Albina Guldeilke 3 months. As well as all these children are two Cooper's Apprentices.

No.15 Vimmelskaftet, Copenhagen
Image around 2017.
According to Danish census records, this is where the Holst family lived in 1860

Jean Reymond (future husband of Madame Marie Reymond) is recorded in the 1871 UK census as a Pianoforte maker living at 179 Church Street, Stoke. He is aged about 53 and is unmarried and no-one else is recorded at that address during the census. Jean Reymond is recorded as being born in France.

John Cope is born on 31 May 1879, son of a coal miner from Milton.

UK Census - a record of Fredrik Idon Holst living in Stoke upon Trent. [needs confirming]

In the UK census of 1881 John Cope is recorded as living at 97 Cinder Hill, Milton. He is now 2 years old and lives with his Mother, Hannah, aged 21 and Father, James, aged 23, a coal miner.

Jean Reymond is recorded in the 1881 UK census as a Professor of Music. He is living at 19 Croxton(?) Street, Stoke. He is recorded as the head of the household and a widower aged 63. Also in the house are two boarders, Ann Jane Johasen, aged 28, who is a music teacher. Her daughter of the same name is recorded as a scholar aged 8. Both the mother and daughter, were born in Hanley and Jean Reymond was born in Besancon, France.

((((DATE? needs confirming
Some members of the Holst family of Denmark settle in North Staffordshire. The father, Fredrik Idon Holst, born in Copenhagen, came to The Potteries with his wife, Julia, and daughter, Caren Maria Elisabeth (later known as Madame Marie Reymond). They reside at 218 Waterloo Road, Cobridge, near Burslem. [needs confirming] ))))

According to the Danish census of 1885 the Holst family, including Karen Maria Elisabeth (now spelt with a K) are living in Copenhagen.

In the online records of Staffordshire BMD, Jean Reymond marries Karen Maria Elisabeth Holst in September.

In the 1891 UK census, the Reymond family is recorded as living at 218 Waterloo Road, Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent. Jean Reymond, aged 73, is head of the household and is working for himself as a Pianoforte Maker. Jean is married to Marie, aged 34 and she is recorded as a Professor of Music, working for herself. (She was born in Copenhagen, Denmark)

Marie had therefore married a piano maker more than twice her age, near to the age of her father.

218 Waterloo Road, Cobridge, in 2017
Home of Madame Marie Reymond and her husband of 4 years, Jean

In the 1891 UK census, James Cope (father of John Cope) and his family are living in Chapel Street, Talke, and this gives us the first inclination that John is not an only child. In fact this and later censuses (below) show he is one of eleven children. The children recorded in the census are: Adam, Sarah, Hannah, Esther, and Annie. But John is not recorded as being at this address. Where was he living?

The Staffordshire BMD (REF: Stoke-on-Trent STO/43/021) records the death of Juliana Mariah Holst aged 72. She was the wife of Fredrik Idon Holst and mother of Karen Marie Elisabeth, later Madame Marie Reymond. Information about family history can at times be confusing since, as can be seen, there are conflicting spellings of names and records of dates. According to her gravestone Julia Holst, aged 73, died on 25 February 1893.

Thursday 24 February 1896. Madame Marie Reymond produced a concert at The Wesleyan Chapel, Milton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Madame Reymond establishes a Music School in a newly built property, Alexandra Buildings, 76 Moorland Road, Burslem. The property was called, fittingly, Beethoven House. It is not certain if she lived on the premises, since four years later (1901) she is recorded as living at a different address - 20 Moorland Road, Burslem.

Alexandra Buildings, 76 Moorland Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent
Madame Reymond's music school at Beethoven House


 20 Moorland Road, Burslem, in 2016
Madame Reymond's home, just down the road from her music school

According to the 1901 UK census, Madame Marie Reymond is now a widow aged 44 and is the head of the household at 20 Moorland Road, Burslem.  Her husband, Jean Reymond had obviously died. She is described as a Teacher of Music. Also living at that property was her father Idon Holst (who we know as Fredrick Idon Holst) aged 81, recorded as a widower. John Cope is also recorded as her adopted son. He is aged 21, single, and also a Teacher of Music.

What about the rest of John Cope's family? They are recorded in the 1901 UK census as living at 9 John Street, Talke. James Cope is head of the household, aged 44, working as a stoker at a chemical works. The rest of the household comprised his wife, Hannah 41, son Adam 19 (a cleaner at Lees Engineers) and the younger children Esther 12, Annie 10, Amy 8, James 5, and Henry 3.

The Potteries Orchestral Society (the NSSO's first name) gives its first performance in Burslem Town Hall on Thursday 8 December 1904 under the baton of John Cope, now just 24 years old.

The North Staffordshire Orchestral Society (the NSSO's second name) gives its 'First Concert in its Forth Season' at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent with Mr John Cope conducting. here>>

North Staffs Symphony Orchestra
John Cope in 1906

Another new name is chosen for the orchestra - The North Staffordshire Orchestra.

Staffordshire BMD (REF: Newcastle-under-Lyme NUL/57/480) records the death of Fredrick Idon Holst, father of Marie Reymond, aged 90 years. According to his gravestone the date is 5 September 1907.

Madame Reymond leaves Beethoven House and a Mr M Morton takes it on. She moves out. (needs rechecking)

The North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra changes its name for the forth time. This name is the one that has lasted.

The UK census in 1911 records John Cope living at 8 Pall Mall, Hanley, where he is head of the household. He is single and 31 years old and described as a Professional Musician (Teacher). The other member of the household is recorded as Marie Reymond (nee Holst) and she is described as a boarder. She is a widow, aged 54, and described as a Professional Musician.

Madame Reymond's home in 1911
8 Pall Mall, Hanley
The head of the household was John Cope

What about the rest of John Cope's family? They are recorded in the 1911 UK census living at 66 Bagnall Road, Milton. In in the 1911 census there is extra information compared with previous censuses. This record shows that James and Hannah Cope had "11 children born alive with 9 living and 2 died". James Cope, 54, is the head of the household and a labourer at an Aluminium Works. Hannah his wife is 52. Sarah Lizzie, a daughter, is single and 26. James Idon is single and 16, he is recorded as apprentice at the Aluminium Works Lab. Another son, Henry, is 14.  No other children are at the address for the census but 60 year old Stephen Baddeley is recorded as a boarder and recorded as blind. It is worth noting that James Idon seems to be named after Marie Reymond's father although his middle name of Idon was not recorded in an earlier census.

Sadly, John Cope's young brother James Idon Cope died in World War I on 13th April 1918, aged 23. He was a Sargeant in the Royal Fusiliers 2nd Battalion, and is recorded at the PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL HAINAUT, BELGIUM.  You can find out more about him here>> http://www.everymanremembered.org/profiles/soldier/1641989/

John Cope leaves The Potteries and joins the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company as one of its conductors. He leaves the NSSO and Madame Reymond, now aged 63. Fred Morris takes up the baton.

The Carl Rosa Opera Company was founded in 1873 by Carl August Nicholas Rosa, a German-born musical impresario, to present opera in English in London and the British provinces. The company premiered many operas in the UK, employing a mix of established opera stars and young singers, reaching new opera audiences with popularly-priced tickets. It survived Rosa's death in 1889. The company, unlike many others, survived the First World War, but the sudden death of Walter Van Noorden in April 1916 was a bitter blow. Cope joined, as conductor, in 1919 but by 1920 there were serious financial difficulties and Alfred Van Noorden was obliged to put the company into voluntary liquidation. Four years later (1924) control had passed to H B Phillips whose own opera company had merged with the Carl Rosa a few years earlier. H B Phillips began by reorganising the company although the pattern of provincial tours and London seasons continued as before. John Cope had left in 1923.   http://www.carlrosatrust.org.uk/index.html


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Madame Marie Reymond announces that she will be leaving The Potteries to return to Denmark. In the end she didn't go.
NSSO Madame Reymond leaving The Potteries 1921?
Clipping courtesy of Staffordshire Sentinel 

Reginald Nettel becomes the orchestra's secretary. He joined the NSSO in 1920, at first playing second violin and later viola. He wrote a book called "North Staffordshire Music, a social experiment" published in 1977 by Triad Press.  ISBN 0-902070-9-3

According to Free BMD, John Cope marries Mary H. Montgomery in Brighton, Sussex, in June 1923. Further research is required to find out more about Mary H. Where did she come from, how long were they married, when did she die?  It is thought she was a contralto in the Carl Rosa company.

John Cope returns to The Potteries after 5 years at the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company which had serious financial difficulties. He resumes as conductor of the North Staffs Symphony Orchestra.

John Cope in 1924

Birth of John Cope's daughter, Mary E. (needs checking)

3 November 1926. Lorry crashes into the home of Madame Reymond and John Cope.

Madame Marie Reymond dies on 27 December 1926, aged 73, at her home at 47 Charles Street Hanley. Karen Marie Elisabeth Reymond was buried in her Holst family grave on 30 December 1926 in Hanley Cemetery after a funeral service at Shelton Parish Church. John Cope, described here in Sentinel article as 'her adopted son,' played the organ.

Charles Street, Hanley, in 1965
Just prior to demolition
Madame Reymond's last home and where she died in 1926

47 Charles Street, Hanley, in 2017
Madame Reymond's last home, since demolished.
This is where she died in 1926.

In May 1930 Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd., the pottery manufacturing company, celebrated its bi-centenary with a magnificent Historical Pageant in Hanley Park. The NSSO accompanied the event with John Cope conducting. An official film was made of the pageant and here is part of it. You can clearly see Cope conducting, baton in hand, and some of the orchestra players in the foreground.

""The Pageant attempts to portray vividly with all the help of colour, spectacle, drama and music, the scenes of the glorious Past to the Present generation… Visitors from far and near will all be kindled with admiration and praise for the proud Heritage of the Potteries."" (from the original programme notes).

Many thanks go to Ray Johnson MBE of the Staffordshire Film Archive for making the extract from the film available.

According to FreeBMD, John Cope's daughter, Mary, marries her first husband James Davie in June 1946, in Hammersmith, London.

Newspaper clipping courtesy of the Evening Sentinel

North Staffs Symphony Orchestra gives its 50th Jubilee Concert under its conductor John Cope here>>

John Cope retires
John Cope retires 1954
Newspaper cutting courtesy of the Evening Sentinel

According to FreeBMD, John Cope's daughter, Mary, marries her second husband Gilbert F. Warden in December 1956, in Kensington, London.

John Cope dies at the North Staffs Royal Infirmary on 6 April 1962. Aged 82 (according to his gravestone)

Cutting from The Evening Sentinel. Article by JO (Jack Oliver) about the 75th Anniversary of the Orchestra.

A new supporters club for the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra is established called The Friends. This replaced the existing 'Patrons' list which was formed at the very beginning of the orchestra's life. The Friends Newsletter, called  'NSSOnotes' was first published in 1995. more>>


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Munroe Blair takes over the reigns as President of the NSSO

The new Millenium and The North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra gives a performance of Bizet's Carmen at the Victoria Hall in Hanley.

Centenary of the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra's 100th Birthday Celebration was held on 8 December 2004, 100 years to the day and in the exact same venue where the NSSO gave its first public concert, Burslem Old Town Hall. Almost 140 sponsors, Friends, guests,  past and present orchestra members, and current and former conductors attended the rather special event.

Burslem Old Town Hall 2004

AGM Frank Procter retires and John Caddick Adams receives a long service award before his retirement.

Peter Stallworthy bows out.
Our resident conductor for 16 years, Peter Stallworthy, conducted his last cocert with the North Staffs Symphony Orchestra on 11th November 2017. He had moved house to the Yorkshire Dales and the regular journey to our rehearsal room in Newcastle Under-Lyme made it impossible for him to carry the baton for us.   He was presented with a leaving gift by Paul Sellars, the orchestra chairman.

Peter Stallworthy, conductor of the NSSO for 16 years, leaves us at the
concert in 11 November 2017. Here he is seen being presented with a gift of appreciation by
Paul Sellars, Orchestra Chairman

The orchestra continues to perform - more details of concerts - here>

Recommended reading - more details>