Green’s Dictionary of Slang

workus n.

1. a workhouse; also attrib. [Cockney pron.].

London Qly Review Apr. 256/2: They only want to thrust themslves into the work’us to get a bellyfull of good victuals and do nothing, but I won’t let ’em.
[UK]H.M. Milner Turpin’s Ride to York II iii: Please sir, can you direct me the nearest vay to the vorkus?
[UK]W. Phillips Wild Tribes of London 64: After a time, the family goes to the vurkus, an’ the duds, in course, comes to us.
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 32/1: Look at that poor little cove as the snob in the Kent Road had out of the workus.
[UK]A. Smith Street Life in London (1969) 89: There’s the ‘workus’ on one side; it’s not pleasant.
[UK]R. Rowe Picked Up in the Streets 125: They was makin’ a road by the new Hislington Workus hup at ’Olloway.
[UK]S.O. Addy Sheffield Gloss. 275: Warkus, the workhouse.
[UK]R. Marsh Beetle 5: ‘It’s the first time I’ve been to a casual ward [...] How far is it to Kensington?’ ‘Work’us? — about three mile; — but if I was you, I’d try St. George’s.’.
[UK]Western Times 7 Feb. 3/4: Work’us brats! Work’us brats / A pennorth o’ bread and a ’aporth o’ sprats! / A very good dinner for work’us brats.
[NZ]Marlborough Express (NZ) 16 Dec. 4/7: [headline] ‘Work-us’ Inmates Demand Bread-and-Butter.
[UK]G. De S. Wentworth-James Man Market 21: Of course we shall – or else the work’us!

2. a derog. term for a Methodist chapel [from its deliberate plainness].

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.