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The Beethoven Society


100 Years of Music-Making

in Manchester


Susan V. Hartshorne

Susan V Hartshorne joined the orchestra in 1954. She served on the committee for many years, was Vice President of the Society from 1975 to 1998 and became President in 1998.

Photographer: Rob Phillips





Early Days

Edwardian Extravaganza - and the Shadows of War

Between the Wars

The Second World war and beyond

Approaching the Centenary

Of Music and Musicians


In 1988 the Manchester Beethoven Society is celebrating its one hundred years of amateur music-making, and this short history has been written to commemorate and celebrate this notable centenary. I have had the benefit (and delight) of drawing on the Society's extensive records, including the detailed and informative minutes recorded by a succession of painstaking Honorary Secretaries. These have enabled me not only to chronicle the events of a century of musical endeavour, but also to highlight the personalities and lighter aspects of the orchestra's life.

The occasion was also marked by a special Centenary Concert in Manchester Town Hall, generously made available by the City Council, on 14 May 1988. The Society regularly gave concerts in this splendid hall from 1899 to 1970 and the building therefore holds many memories for past and present members of the orchestra.

I would like to thank all those who have assisted me by digging deep into their own personal records and memories, and I also acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Gordon Cockrell's history of the Society's early years - 'A Retrospect of Twenty-five Years' Work'. In addition I would particularly like to thank my husband, John, who helped greatly in editing.