A timeline for the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra

It is interesting to see that the dates for the births and deaths of the orchestra's founding members and their families do vary a lot. Records in those early days seem to be inaccurate.  For completeness all relevant dates have been included here.

The Founder of the NSSO and the money behind its establishment was Madame Marie Reymond. She was born in Copenhagen as Karen Marie Elisabeth Holst. She married a Frenchman,  Jean Reymond, whilst in England.

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

*NOTE: According to the UK Census of 1901, Idon Holst (father of Madame Marie Reymond) born.
According to her gravestone, Julia (mother of Madame Marie Reymond) born.
*NOTE: According to the UK Census of 1891, Idon Holst (father of Madame Marie Reymond) born.

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

*NOTE Madame Marie Reymond (Karen Marie Elisabeth Holst) born. [needs confirming]
*NOTE According to the UK Census 1901, Madame Marie Reymond (Karen Marie Elisabeth Holst) born. [needs confirming]

John Cope born on 31 May 1879
Son of a miner

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

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, Karen Marie Elisabeth (later known as Madame Marie Reymond). They reside at 218 Waterloo Road, Cobridge, near Burslem. [needs confirming]

1887 Jul/Aug/Sep
Marriage Records Civil Registration : Jean Reymond of Besancon, France, marries Karen Marie Elisabeth Holst.

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

So Marie had married a piano maker more than twice her age. The Civil Registration records show that they married between July and September 1887.

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

According to her gravestone Julia Holst, Aged 73, wife of Fredrik Idon Holst and mother of Madame Marie Reymond, dies 25 February 1893.

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

Madame Reymond buys a newly built property in Alexandra Buildings, 76 Moorland Road, Burslem. It is from here that she runs her Music School.  The property was called, fittingly, Beethoven House.

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 Census, Madame Marie Reymond was now a widow aged 44 and was the head of the household at 20 Moorland Road. Her husband, Jean Reymond had obviously died. She was described as a Teacher of Music. Also living at that property was her father Idon Holst, aged 81 and John Cope her adopted son. He was aged 21, unmarried, and also a Teacher of Music.

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.

Fredrik Idon Holst, father of Marie Reymond, dies aged 90 years on 5 September 1907 (according to his gravestone)

Madame Reymond sells Beethoven House to Mr M Morton. She moves out.

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


UK  Census


John Cope leaves The Potteries and joins the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company as its new conductor. 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.


Download pdf here>


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.

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 1924

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.

47 Charles Street, Hanley, in 2017
Madame Reymond's last home, since demolished. Where she died.



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


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 strated of the orchestra's life. The Friends Newsletter, called  'NSSOnotes' was first published in 1995. more>


download pdf here>

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

AGM Frank Procter retires and John Caddick Adams gets a long long long serviuce awatd before his retirement