John Cope

COPE, John (1879-1962), musician, Hanley

Extract courtesy "The People of the Potteries"
A Dictionary of Local Biography Vol. 1
Edited by Denis Stuart
1985 ISBN 0-903160-23-4

With additional details by Justin Cartlidge (Cope's nephew)

John Cope, the son of James Cope a coal miner, was born at Cinder Hill, Milton on 31 May 1879. John had a brother, James Idon Cope.

While still a schoolboy his musical talents attracted the attention of Madam Marie Reymond, a music teacher, living in Burslem. She assisted him to study the organ under Rheinberger, in Munich, and he eventually also became a conductor.

Back in the Potteries he conducted the Burslem Orchestral Union which Madam Reymond had established at her own expense The orchestra later became the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra.

Cope conducted for the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Sheffield and other cities, and he joined this company in 1919. In 1924 he returned to the Potteries and resumed his conductorship of the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra. He was also organist at the Congregational church, Newcastle under Lyme, at St. Paul's church, Burslem and at Leek parish church. He was later appointed city organist to the Stoke on Trent corporation and was visiting music master at Newcastle High School and the Orme Boys’ School, Newcastle. He also acted as musical director and conductor of the Stoke on Trent Amateur Dramatic Society, and for some years was musical director of Sheffield Grand Opera.

Cope married Henrietta Montgomery in 1924 and had a daughter, Mayna (Mary Elizabeth Cope). Mayna married a James Davie but moved to London in 1956 when her marriage was dissolved. On 23 October 1956 she married Gilbert Forrester-Warden.

John Cope died on 6 April 1962 at his home in Charles Street, Hanley. He was buried in the same grave as Marie Reymond and her parents in Hanley cemetery.

North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra - John Cope through the years

John Cope 1947



The Bronze Bust of John Cope 




John Cope - founder and conductor of the NSSO
Presented by members of The Friends of the Orchestra, October 1947
The bust is currently in store at The Potteries Museum in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent