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The results of searching for "Dark Mild" in the newspaper archives were pretty disappointing. I only found a handful of references to the term before 1920

After a bit of thought, another , indirect method occurred to me. Why not search for "Pale Mild"? If something;s being called Pale Mild, then Dark Mild must also exist. Otherwise, the "pale" prefix would be redundant.

And Bingo, I found this advert from 1899:

South Bucks Standard - Friday 12 May 1899, page 1.

Two Mild, X and PX, with the latter clearly described as Pale Mild. What surprised me most about this was that at such an early date Dark Mild should be the norm.

My guess would be that X and PX were identical. With caramel being added to X. In any case, with the price being identical they would have at least been the same strength.

I decided against "Light Mild" as it's ambiguous. It could mean either light in colour or light in strength.

When I started down the beer history rabbit hole, I never imagined it would be so hard to pin down a date for the beginning of Dark Mild. I've enough evidence now to be certain that it lies in the 19th century. Probably at least 1890. Though the date varied by region and brewery.

Wheeler's must have been a decent-sized brewer. When it it was taken over in 1924 it owned 148 pubs.