Between 1989 and 2004 part of the site was owned by a Japanese foundation, Gyosei (later Witan) International College. The University and College collaborated to erect these gates.
The arms of the University of Reading were granted in 1896 when the University Extension College was still part of Oxford University. The Lancaster Rose comes from the arms of the Royal County of Berkshire. The cross derives from the arms of Christ Church Oxford which are those of it founder, Cardinal Wolsey. The scallop shells come from the arms of Reading Abbey – a reminder that the first college was once part of the Abbey. Scallop shells are symbols of a pilgrim or ‘palmer’ and they might allude to Reading’s Palmer family. Walter Palmer, son of the co-founder of the Huntley and Palmers biscuit firm, was the first President of Reading University Extension College and the family remain benefactors of the University today.
Gyosei means ‘rising star’. The College was a Catholic foundation and its shield depicts the star above bay leaves, a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
In 1992 The Friends donated £750 towards the gates.