Today the children and I headed into Stockport to visit Hatworks, a local museum dedicated to hat making. Stockport and the surrounding area played a key role in hat making and it was nice to get to see a bit of local history.
The museum opened in 2000 and I’ve never been there before. I wasn’t too sure of what to expect but had heard that it was suitable for children so decided we would take a look. We parked in the shopping centre area of Stockport and walked across to the museum – it’s a short walk from the bus and train stations as well as the main shopping area. It’s all very accessible, pushchair and wheelchair friendly and plenty of room to manoeuver around.
The museum is on three levels, the second level (where you enter) has a cafe, small shop, welcome desk and community rooms. We were greeted and given a map and in a nice touch the staff spoke directly to the children and gave Mr D the map to look after.
We headed down to the 1st floor and had a look around. There is a large area here for children to try on hats, or sit and read (hat related) books. There is an awful lot to take in about the different types of hats and I didn’t really get chance to read as much as I would have liked to – the children were just keen to point out the different types of hats they could see that they recognised (police, fire etc). They then spent ages trying on the hats and admiring themselves in the mirror. This is a well resourced area and I suspect it’s where they hold some of the activities for young children in the week (such as Bowler Babes). It was really hard to get decent pictures as the children were so excited trying the hats on!
We then continued round to another area where there was a table with colouring pages, crayons and sugar paper with which to make your own hat.
We stopped here for a short while before heading down to the bottom level to look at some of the machinery. There is a lot down here and you can follow the hat making process around the various machines. There is also a shop set up (which the children loved) and there lots of information displayed as you walk around.
Before we finished we headed back up to the dress up area for some more hat trying and then went back to the ground level to get a drink and a bite to eat. The children shared a toasted tea cake and I had a pot of tea (both a bargain at £1.90 before 11:30).
There’s plenty to see at the Hatworks Stockport and I’m sure when the children begin to learn more about their local history this will be a place we head to again.