Why does a butterfly represent Camberwell?

Why does a butterfly represent Camberwell, including at the entrances to Burgess Park and the shopping parade, Butterfly Walk?

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Until the 19th century most of Camberwell was open fields, the Camberwell Beauty was first seen in the locality in 1748. Known as Nymphalis Antiopa, the Camberwell Beauty was very likely a Scandinavian immigrant – it doesn’t breed here and there is no evidence for a native breeding population in the UK.

Camberwell Beauty is a large striking, magnificent butterfly which in is known as the ‘Mourning Cloak’ in North America. The butterfly is a strong flyer and tends to spend much of its life in the tree canopy.

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A large mosaic of the Camberwell Beauty used to adorn the Samuel Jones paper factory on Southampton Way. The paper factory has since been demolished but the mosaic was removed and re-installed on the side of Lynn Boxing Club on Wells Way.

Most people living in Camberwell today have probably never seen one. Though it does get spotted rarely around the UK.


About this article

Shapa Begum

About Shapa Begum

Hi, I’m Shapa Begum, Blog Editor. Born and raised in East Dulwich, I love what I do here at Dulwich OnView, I’m absolutely passionate about south London and reaching out to local communities – you can read about my favourite Dulwich spots on Time Out London and Completely London blog. My role goes beyond editing, I write, review, participate in conferences/events, attend local happenings and oversee the marketing. There’s no rest for the wicked! When not working, I love to read, write, visit museums and spend time with my loved ones.
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