This chapter aims to reconstruct the historical interpretation of ‘Old’ Labour that underpinned ‘New’ Labour as a political project, scrutinising relevant speeches, policy papers, memoirs, diaries and documents. It examines the rhetorical framing of Old Labour by the modernisers alongside the historical understanding Blair’s party derived from the past as it advanced political ideas. For Tony Blair and his entourage, there were a series of historical controversies that defined Old Labour’s legacy. The first theme was recurrent electoral failure. The second theme was mismanagement of the economy. The third theme was the centralised British state and constitutional conservatism. The final theme was Labour’s view of Britain’s world role. Blair’s followers rejected Old Labour’s ‘complacent illusions’. For New Labour, the pattern of politics in the late 1950s prefigured the troubling experience of the 1980s. The 1959 result was a turning point in British politics, ‘a political watershed’ compelling each of the main parties to address the incipient rise of affluence.