This film is part of Free

Just One Kid

A Jewish Eastender recalls growing up in poverty in the 1930s and being part of a community now long gone

Factual TV 1974 54 mins Silent


Jewish tailor-turned-actor Alfred Maron, once a resident of London’s East End, reminisces about his childhood in this affecting drama-documentary. We follow young Alfred growing up in poverty in the interwar years, and witness the excitement of a school trip to Kent. For all the hardship, there are moments of happiness, such as his excitement at seeing the sea for the first time. As an adult, Alfred rues the loss of the old Jewish communities, and the film reflects his complex emotions surrounding the East End’s changing cultural mix in the 1970s.

The evocative, unsentimental dramatised sequences from Maron’s youth (featuring children from London's Jewish Free School) have a lot in common with the early films of Terence Davies, which they pre-date. Just One Kid emphasises the need for charity, with Alfred’s trip funded by the Country Holiday Fund and his clothes provided by the Jewish Board of Guardians. The screenplay was written by Jewish dramatist Bernard Kops, who also grew up in the East End.