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Millgate lies along the line of the Roman Fosse Way which connected their capital cities which now are Leicester and Lincoln. For many years it formed part of the A46 trunk road between those cities, and was on the approach from Leicester, latterly as a one-way NEwards road, until the Relief Road was opened in 1990.
Millgate was strategically placed close to the River Trent and was developed as a trading centre with mills and tanneries during the Middle Ages, but lay outside the Borough of Newark until until the time of the Civil War. Millgate reached its heyday in the late 18th-early 19th centuries, with the land adjacent to the Trent and Devon being drained. Millgate became a busy trading centre with wharves, many fine houses and businesses, especially maltings (an important Newark industry) and a brewery. The opening of the railway in 1847 was the death-knell for Millgate. No new building took place after 1861 and many of the shops, business and wharves went into decline. By the 1950s the area was badly run-down. Since the Newark Act for Conservation in 1968 the area has been restored as a residential area. Many new housing developments have been erected, skilfully using architecture in sympathy with the industrial styles of 200 years ago. It is now a designated Conservation Area, with many listed buildings, and an active Millgate Conservation Society.