James Copeland

James Copeland (1918 - 2002)



Jimmy Copeland featured on the small and large screens as a renowned character actor from the 1950s to the 1990s, and was also the author of popular poems and the well-loved song ‘These are my Mountains’.

Full Biography

Born James Gordon Copeland on May 1 1918 in Helensburgh, after school he joined the police, then worked in the Blackburn Aircraft Factory in Dumbarton during the Second World War. He was a keen amateur actor, studied at the College of Dramatic Arts in Glasgow, and had his first professional engagement at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. A long career in acting, in films and television followed.
Copeland was a talented writer, contributing to magazines, and often reading his own pieces on radio. He was an accomplished raconteur, well-known for his enthusiastic participation in Burns suppers and other celebrations of poetry, and was an expert on the works of Robert Burns, William McGonagall and Robert Service.

Though not wishing to claim the status of poet (he called himself a rhymer), he produced two small books of verse. Several of his poems remain popular, frequently requested from the Scottish Poetry Library. They are well-remembered for their sly humour or their poignancy; the much-anthologised ‘Black Friday’ packs tragedy, compassion, and a sense of close community into nine short verses. 
The introduction to the Shoogly Table Book of Verse says that Copeland ‘can whiles raise smiles’ with his poetry. Add to that the raising of the occasional tear, and you have the appeal of his work in a nutshell.

Poems by James Copeland

There are no poems by this poet on the Scottish Poetry Library website, but we do have items in our library collection.

Further Reading

Selected Bibliography

Some Work  (Glasgow: Bramma, 1972)
Jimmy Copeland's Shoogly Table Book of Verse  (Glasgow: Bramma, 1983) 

Other Useful Info

Copyright resides with the family of James Copeland - please contact the SPL.