In order to assess the long-term impact of persistent organic contaminants such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) it is important to be able to quantify historical exposure. An understanding of past exposure is not only important to place our current body burdens in perspective, but is useful in assessing our potential future exposure. Unfortunately, very few direct measurements of our main source of exposure (i.e., food) over the past decades are available. This study attempts to reconstruct the historical exposure of the UK population to PCDD/Fs using a combination of emission estimates, information on environmental temporal trends derived from sediment cores and archived materials, and environmental/human fate modelling. Predicted adipose and blood lipid concentrations for a typical cross section of the population are derived over time (1920–2000), which is compared with measured data. The approach has been tested with two PCDDs and two PCDFs and showed encouraging agreement with measured data. Certain parts of the modelling methodology have been highlighted where there is still poor understanding of the processes governing fate and behaviour. These areas are discussed and recommendations for future improvements are made. The paper thus represents an initial modelling approach which defines both the historical (1920-present) and future (present-2020) fate of PCDD/Fs in the UK population.