Pale does not necessarily mean higher-quality. I think that's a lesson we should all try to remember. Concentrating on a single characteristic of beer only leads to heartache. Something hop-heads should consider.
"A systematic handbook of practical brewing" by E.R. Southby, 1885, pages 232-233.
This obsession with pale colour could explain some peculiarities of late 19th-century Pale Ale grists. Such as the heavy use of sugar. Sugar often made up more than 20% of Pale Ale grists. More than in Porter and Stout. And, less expectedly, more than in Mild.
Then there's crystal malt. Used in pretty much every Bitter today. When did Barclay Perkins first use it in a Pale Ale? 1942. Whitbread were a bit earlier in their use of crystal: 1928. Lees? 1946.
I managed to spin that out quite nicely. And even threw in the odd scrap of meaty fact. Must be getting the hang of this lark. Finally.