The village of Colwick was listed in the Domesday survey. For centuries, it was a farming community on the banks of the river Trent, where the Byron and Manvers families were the major landowners. In the 19th century, the expansion of Nottingham, the coming of the railways and the increased use of the river Trent for transport all led to Colwick becoming an industrial centre. Between 1870 and 1970 the railway yards between Colwick and Netherfield were one of the most important goods centres in the country.

In 1917, construction of a new light industrial estate was begun on the flood meadows and the former gravel pits between Colwick and Netherfield. At the time, a planned estate of industrial units was a new initiative of the government. The site became the location of a petroleum depot, established to distribute fuel for motor vehicles and served by barges along the river Trent. The estate was serviced by a light railway connected to the Great Northern Railway marshalling yard, and by 1924 was occupied by oil storage facilities, engineering works and concrete manufacturing. Later additions included a soap factory, a sugar beet factory and pet food production.

The parish of Colwick was included as a detached part of Basford Rural District in 1894. In 1933 the parish was divided; the western half was transferred to the city of Nottingham and, in 1935, the remaining portion of the parish merged into Carlton Urban District. Colwick Village is the name now given to the settlement lying between the railway and the river Trent. Since the mid-1980s new housing has been located on land formerly occupied by the industrial estate.