The area is named after a 16th century family of the same name. Until the 20th century Collindale, was without any buildings save for a large house called Collindale Lodge, Collindale Farm and a few cottages (a spelling with two L's has been used, as on this printed in 1873). All of these properties were on Collindeep Lane which had in the medieval period been an alternative route out of London (via Hampstead, Golders Green and Hendon) to the Edgware Road. By the end of the 16th century it was not often used as a main road and by the middle part of the 19th century was called Ancient Street.
By the end of the 19th century cheap land prices made Colindale attractive to developers. Colindale Hospital was started in 1898 as an asylum for the long term sick of central London and in 1907 The Government Lymph Establishment for making vaccines was built. By 1996 the majority of the hospital was closed and at present lies mostly derelict. In 1902 the British Library built a new depository and kept the newspaper collection there from 1934.
Garston’s Ltd established a trunk factory in 1901 as well as a row of cottages called Leatherville. As such they constitute the first manufacturer in the Collindale. By 1914 there was already housing between Colindale Avenue and Annesley avenues mostly to house the workers of these endeavours. Immediately after the First World War a number of other manufacturing companies came to Colindale. Franco Illuminated Signs came to Aerodrome Road in 1922. They made their money making the lights for the Franco British Exhibition (1908), from which they took their name (later abbreviated to Franco). They were best known for the neon signs to be found in Piccadilly from the 1920s to the 1970s. Frigidaire started in a wooden shack in Aerodrome Road, employing 11 people in 1923, selling the first automatic household fridges in England. The reason why many of these and other companies chose Colindale was that there was land available for expansion. However by 1923 when the tube railway reached Colindale land prices increased and factory expansion was not realisable. A number of industries looked elsewhere for premises. In 1931 Frigidaire, for example, decided to build a new manufacturing plant on the Edgware Road and had moved its entire operations there by 1946.
After the station opened suburban development was rapid and by 1939 much of the western side was semi-detached housing. Typical is the Colin Park Estate built by F. H. Stucke & Co. around Colindeep Lane (1927). A number of the houses on this estate are by the architect E. G. Trobridge. St Matthias started as a mission church in 1905. Its permanent building was opened in 1934 and rebuilt 1971-3. Colindale infants' school was started in Colindeep Lane in 1921 with a new building constructed in Woodfield Avenue in 1933. In September of 1940 Colindale tube station and the Newspaper Library (rebuilt 1957) were bombed and the site was visited by George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother. V1 flying bombs hit Colindale Hospital on 1 July 1944 killing four members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.