The name Galgate is from Old English Gal-gata, meaning the road to Scotland. Another, similar view is that the name is a shortening of Galloway Gate, i.e. the road to Galloway. A popular opinion within Galgate is that it stands for Gallows Gate, the last village which condemned people passed through before reaching Lancaster and their place of execution.
A major railway from Preston to Lancaster passes on a viaduct over the village. The village once had its own station (Galgate railway station) but it closed in 1939 and now the nearest station is Lancaster.
Galgate once had a thriving silk industry and many of the installations still stand. One story told is that because the rhubarb grown locally was used for dyeing the silk, Galgate's community newsletter is named 'Rhubarb City News'. Rhubarb is a prolific plant in Galgate, but this idea that it was used to dye silk seems to have no evidence to support it.
Galgate had a water powered corn mill, which was replaced by the 1792 stone three-storey wooden beamed mill of Thompson, Noble and Armstrong. It had a projecting stair tower and mill pond, with cast iron pillars inserted later.The second three storey mill was built in the early 1800s, made of stone with internal cast-iron pillars and a seven aisled roof. The third mill from 1851 is a five storey brick built mill with corner pillasters and an internal beam engine house.
Residents in Galgate worked to raise money to build a new village hall, between the football pitch and the cricket ground, on the recreation field behind the Plough Inn. This opened in August 2012.
Each year, the Galgate Gaslight and Horticultural Society holds an annual village show (the 2011 show marked the 150th anniversary of the society).
The bi-monthly village newsletter The Rhubarb City News is put together by a team of volunteers and delivered to almost 1000 households in Galgate.
Research for an investment company in 2011 claimed that Galgate was the third best place in England and Wales to bring up children.
In July 2002 ten-year-old Jade Slack, who was visiting a friend in the village, died of a drug overdose. She took five ecstasy tablets, believing them to be sweets. Former Radio 4 Gardener's Question Time panellist Fred Downham is a long-term resident of the village. Alan Milburn, a former Labour minister, lived in the village whilst studying at Lancaster University.
- Ashmore 1982, p. 203.
- (26 September 2011) "Where is the best place to live in England and Wales", Channel 4 News, retrieved 9 December 2011
- (17 September 2003) "Couple cleared of killing Jade", BBC News, accessed 16 April 2015
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