The first Degree Course to be taught in the erstwhile princely state of Cochin was the B.A.
Course in History Group offered by the St. Thomas’ College, Trichur, with which the College
became the earliest First Grade College in the State of Cochin, affiliated to the University of
Madras in March 1925. The academic history of the College had already begun six years back
in 1919, when with the teaching of History as the main subject ( i.e. Group III History) in the
Intermediate Class the St. Thomas’ College was raised to the rank of a Second Grade College
in Arts. The College presented the first batch of students for the B.A. Examinations on 27-3-
1927.The Professors who taught History included Chev. Joseph Pettah, the initiator of the
Village Economic Survey, and Mr. S.F. Nunez, an expert in Constitutional History (both of
them were Members of the Legislative Council of the State of Cochin), Sri. R
Narayanaswamy, Chev. C. J. Varkey (who was a member of the Senate of the University of
Madras, was instrumental in convincing the University of the necessity of organising a
Department of Publications, a University Magazine and courses in Journalism in the
University, and who subsequently became Minister for Education in Madras) and A.
Sreedhara Menon (the noted historian, who was, afterwards, the Editor of the Kerala State
Gazetteers and Registrar of the University of Kerala). Among the alumni of the Department
who subsequently made history in Indian politics was Sri. E.M.S. Namboothiripad, the first
Chief Minister of Kerala. From 1967 onwards, the Dept. is offering, along with the
Deptartment of English, B.A. in History & English Language and Literature of equal status,
and students of this course have consecutively won the top three ranks in the University
examinations conducted during the last quarter of the century. The Department has been
publishing an interdisciplinary journal entitled Advances in Arts and Ideas (ISSN 0973-
2372). The Medlycott Foundation at the Dept., consisting of researchers from different
disciplines and academic institutions, has instituted the Medlycott Lecture in honour of Rt.
Rev. A.E. Medlycott, the founder-historian of the St. Thomas’ College. The Medlycott
Lecture for 2005-06 was delivered by Prof. R. Champakalakshmi, noted historian and former
Chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi;
Prof. M. G. S. Narayanan, former Chirman, ICHR, New Delhi; and Dr. Bettina Baumer,
Visiting Professor, University of Austria, Vienna.