I went to Hat Works (the hat museum in Stockport) for the first time yesterday, for college (an extra during half term).
It's a wonderful place, and just around the corner from the railway station (though make sure you go out the right (main) exit, if you go.
Entry is free, and if you take a tour (£2.65 for an adult, £7.00 for a family of four), they start up the machinery, and tell you how it all worked, etc, covering the whole process, from making the felt to the finished hat.
I found the hand tools particularly interesting, though. I didn't have my camera with me, so I'm going to go back in April (or so), so I can take some photos.
There's also a special exhibition running at the moment, until 11 May 2012, titled 'The Finishing Touch: Trends of Trimming Unpicked'. It's a wonderful collection of antique and vintage hats, trimmings, and modern hats by some of the country's leading milliners - people like Stephen Jones, William Chambers, etc. Also pieces by my tutors at Leeds, Sue Carter and Sharon Bainbridge.
I was drawn to some of the hats made from different materials - like lasered wood, or shaped perspex - and one by William Chambers, made of drinking straws (not that you can tell unless you look closely!).
There are videos that you can watch, too, of Stephen Jones, explaining how he finds his inspiration, and doing things with yoghurt pots :o).
The whole exhibition (which is also free to look at) was put together by Sharon Bainbridge, as part of her MA.