GEORGE PRUDEN - Early Days in Bethnal Green
Thought I'd start with what I know about the early life of George Pruden b 1842 in Bethnal Green.
George was born to parents James and Sarah Pruden, Sarah's maiden name was Ogier. Her family were descended from French Huguenot immigrants who fled France to avoid religious persecution. Many of them were silk weavers by trade and a large number of them settled in the Bethnal Green/Spitalfields area. I've traced the Pruden line back to the late 1600's, I can't find any evidence that they too were of French descent but there are many references to the name having French origins.
George was born in Swan street Bethnal Green , The street still exists but has been renamed to Cygnet Street Cygnet street,formerly swan street on google maps This would have been a run down area at the time , The Booth Poor Map shows this area as being very deprived in the 1880's
The first census reference I found for George was in the 1851 Census , Here they are living at 3 little george street, bethnal green. This street no longer exists , but for those interested this is the link to the approximate location on google maps approx location of little george st 1851
Here he is listed as being 9 years old and being a "scholar". Every other person of working age is listed as being a silk weaver. The people living in the neighbouring properties are also silk weavers. I believe that life would have been quite tough and the family would have been considered poor by the standard of the day. Bethnal Green was fairly close to a number big commercial docks , east india docks, west india docks and royal victoria docks. These were all within about 5 miles of Bethnal Green, and it is most likely that George joined a ship at one of these docks to start his voyage to New Zealand.