Colindale takes its place name from a 16th-century family. Until the 20th century 'Collindale' was without any buildings, apart from a large house called Collindale Lodge, Collindale Farm, and a few cottages. Collindeep Lane had been an important road in the medieval period, but was called Ancient Street between the Tudor and Victorian periods.
In the Edwardian period Colindale began to grow. Colindale Hospital was opened in 1898 for the sick of London.The Government Lymph Establishment for making vaccines was built in 1907. In 1902 the British Museum built a new depository for the newspaper collection.
The fields north of Colindale became famous as Hendon Aerodrome and the Hendon Police College, as well as an important industrial district. The first factory was Garstons Ltd who built a trunk factory and a row of cottages for their workers called Leatherville (1901).
In 1911 Airco started manufacturing aircraft at Annesley Avenue, near the Hyde. By 1914 there was already some suburban housing between Colindale Avenue and Annesley Avenue, mostly to house the workers in local factories.
During the First World War German prisoners of war (POWs) built Aerodrome Road, and Claude Grahame White built Aeroville for his employees. Immediately after the First World War increasing numbers of manufacturing companies came to Colindale. Franco Illuminated Signs came to Aerodrome Road in 1922. 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 and selling the first fridges in England.
After the underground station opened, suburban development was rapid. By 1939 much of Colindale was semi-detached housing. Typical is the Colin Park Estate, around Colindeep Lane, built by F. H. Stucke & Co (1927). A number of the houses on this estate are by the architect E. G. Trobridge.
In September of 1940 Colindale tube station and the Newpaper Library (rebuilt 1957) were bombed. The V1 flying bombs hit Colindale Hospital on 1 July 1944 killing four members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.