To this end, a new ensemble of retrospective atmospheric seasonal forecasts covering the period 1900 to 2009 has been created, providing a unique tool to explore many aspects of atmospheric seasonal climate prediction. In this study we focus on the multi-decadal variability in predicting the winter NAO. The existence of relatively low skill levels during the period 1950s -1970s has been confirmed in the new dataset. This skill appears to increase again for earlier and later periods. Whilst these interdecadal differences in skill are, by themselves, only marginally statistically significant, the variations in skill strongly co-vary with statistics of the general circulation itself suggesting that such differences are indeed physically real. The mid-Century period of low forecast skill coincides with a negative NAO phase but the relationship between the NAO phase/amplitude and forecast skill is more complex than linear.