THE Peterloo Massacre, when on the morning of August 16, 1819, people from Bolton and Bury gathered along with tens of thousands of men, women and children from surrounding towns calling for parliamentary reform came under attack, has been today highlighted as a defining moment in England's history.

Around 60,000 people had walked to St Peter's Fields to listen to orator Henry Hunt, calling for political reform and better representation in parliament ­— for the rally to end in death an injury when the cavalry charged into a crowd.

The crowd, accompanied by bands playing music and people dancing alongside, was so determined to prove their peaceful intentions that they banned anything that could be construed as a weapon and people left their walking sticks behind in pubs along the way to the rally.

But local magistrates feared the crowd had violent, revolutionary intentions and sent in armed forces to disperse them.

People who were already cramped, tired and hot panicked as the soldiers rode in, and several were crushed as they tried to escape. The first to die was a baby, trampled under horses’ hooves. A further 14 people were killed, whilst more than 650 were injured, including those from Bolton and Bury.

According to the website local people injured included Henry Marsh, a weaver who was knocked down "beat on the loins and legs, his knees bruised" and William Thompson of Middle Street Bolton,also a weaver was "stabbed in the right eye with the point of a sabre, and trampled on".

A total of 22 people from Bolton are named on the list and 15 from Bury.

But despite huge public sympathy for the victims, and horror expressed at the way it was handled, the government responded by cracking down on reform. Peterloo was one of the bloodiest clashes in British political history and and says Historic England, remains a key moment in the history of democracy because it allowed the reformers to gain the moral high ground.

The events of that day prompted John Edward Taylor, a 28-year-old Manchester businessman and witness to the massacre, to start his own paper and campaign for reform. This was the Manchester Guardian, now The Guardian.

Now the site of the massacre, Peter Street, where the Free Trade Hall now stands, has been selected as one of the top ten places that chronicle the history of power, protest and progress in England as chosen historian David Olusoga.

It was chosen from hundreds of public nominations as part of Historic England’s campaign to find the 100 places that bring to life England’s rich history.

The announcement comes as Mike Leigh's film Peterloo, starring Maxine Peake premieres at the Venice Film Festival later this year.

Mr Olusoga: "The nation is about to reconnect with this critically important event. The site needs to be better known."

Other sites chosen include Sycamore in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset Bosworth Battlefield, Leicestershire, the laboratory where Ernest Rutherford first discovered the structure of the atom at the University of Manchester and The Palace of Westminster.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: "Every place chosen in this category has a fascinating story to tell about the history of power, protest and progress. Throughout this campaign we have been trying to uncover lesser known stories, as well as to delve more deeply into the history of some well-known places. The ten in this category show that there is still so much to learn about our nation’s past."

Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive of Ecclesiastical Insurance, which sponsored the campaign, said: "These ten places are a poignant reminder of the some of the pivotal struggles that have shaped our nation, whether that has been fighting inequality, discrimination or an enemy from abroad. The stories of power, protest and progress are a fitting way to complete the list of 100 Places that have shaped England’s history and we are proud to be able to celebrate them through our sponsorship of the campaign."