December 25 - 1924 All Blacks spend Christmas at Deal

The “Invincibles” spent Christmas 1924 at the Royal Hotel in Deal, Kent, preparing for their final two matches in England.

Gathered around the fire on Christmas Day - a new experience for New Zealanders. Credit Central Press Agency.

From “With the All Blacks in Great Britain, France, Canada and Australia 1924-25” by Read Masters. Pub. 1928 by Christchurch Press Co. Ltd p.106-107.

“On the afternoon of Monday, December 22nd, we all congregated at Berner’s Hotel, London, and at 4.30 p.m. left for Deal, a quiet little town on the South East Coast, where we did our training for the two remaining matches in England. A great assemblage of residents enthusiastically received us at the station.

Deal proved an excellent spot for a quiet time, prior to the Test against England, and we spent eight happy days there. A brisk walk along the promenade before breakfast and practice on the Royal Marine Light Infantry Football Ground at 10 a.m. was the daily order of training. We were made honorary members of the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, also of the Walmer and Kingsdown Links. Those who had not played this game before found it far more fascinating than had been anticipated, and some very enjoyable, and at times most amusing, afternoons were spent trying to master the art. Some of the boys caused a stir in golf circles by claiming that they had gone round the links in “so-and-so,’’ but it transpired that whenever the ball landed in one of the many sand bunkers, it invariably found a coat pocket until a convenient place for an effective drive was sighted!


At 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve a huge Christmas mail arrived for us from New Zealand, and a happy time was spent reading letters from home. The dining-room at the Royal Hotel, where we had our Christmas dinner at 6.30 p.m., was festooned with holly and other decorations. Over the table was suspended the representation of a large Rugby football bearing our colours, whilst the table was adorned with miniature Christmas trees. At the end of the room was a New Zealand ensign with the words “Kia Ora” written underneath it. At the conclusion of the dinner Mr. Dean gave the toast, “Our Loved Ones in New Zealand,” which was most enthusiastically honoured and received with ringing cheers. A home-like atmosphere (for which our hostess, Mrs. Luckman, by her great hospitality, was in no small measure responsible) prevailed at the hotel, where we spent a most enjoyable time.

We left for London on Boxing Day to play the second match against London Counties on the 27th; returning to Deal on Sunday, 28th.”