Green’s Dictionary of Slang

academy n.

[joc. uses of SE]

1. a brothel, one of a number of contemporary terms based on brothel = school.

[UK]Marston ‘Redde, age, quae deinceps rifisti’ Scourge of Villanie I C5: Tainting our Townes, and hopefull Accademes, / With your lust-bating most abhorred meanes.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Thierry and Theoderet I ii: An Academ [sic], In which all principles of lust were practis’d.
Last Will of the E--l of P-mbr-ke 2: The tallest and strongest in all my Stables I give to the Academy, for a Vaulting Horse for all Lovers of Vertue.
[UK]H. Nevile Newes from the New Exchange 2: [Two ladies undertaking] to breed up the young Fry in the Mysteries of the Sexe, have erected an Academy, which is opened every Sunday night at the Countesse of Kent’s and every Thursday at my Lady of Exceter’s.
[UK]C. Cotton Erotopolis 108: The Publick Academies and Schools of [Bettyland are] altogether for Justing, and Tournaments, and Running of the Ring.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]N. Ward Step to Stir-Bitch-Fair in Writings II 269: The Scholars, to Encourage the Old Trade of Basket-making, have great resort to these Uptail Academies.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Gent.’s Mag. 2 (Jan.) 790: An Epistle from Sir John Meretrix to Diana, Goddess of Chastity, Directress of the Midnight Academy at Vaux-Hall.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. n.p.: academy, a Bawdy House; a Receptacle for all sorts of Villains, where the young Ones are initiated in the Canting Language, and all manner of cheats and impostures, and sorted into Tribes and Bands, according to their several Capacities for Mischief.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 1 Apr. 3/1: Mrs Brown’s Academy in Sussex-street has been enlarged [...] We advise certain grey-headed old goats [...] frequenting this brothel of a place to beware.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 107: Academy, a brothel, bagnio.
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.

2. a casino.

[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 60: In some places they call gaming-houses Academies; but I know not why they should inherit that honourable name.

3. a lunatic asylum.

A. Cruden pamphlet in DSUE (1984).

4. a prison; used in combs. such as Adkins’s academy n.; Campbell’s academy n.; floating academy n.

[[UK]Shakespeare (ascribed) Tragedy of Locrine in Doubtful Plays (1869) 164: By my troth, mistress Nicebice. How fine you can nick-name me ! I think you were brought up in the University of Bridewell].
[[UK]Mercurius Democritus 3-10 May 5: The Ladyes were discovered, and committed to the University of Bridewell].
[UK]Kentish Gaz. 21 May 4/3: Dignam, therefore as well as other elevated defrauders, know what they have to depend on if they once enter on board the floating academy.
[UK]Derby Mercury 23 Oct. 1/4: He, assisted by other Convicts, got Possession of the long Boat, and after stabbing the Prosecutor, (West the Boatswain, and one of the Keepers belonging to Mr. Campbell's Academy) he levelled a Blunderbuss loaded deeply with Slugs at West and the other Keepers.
[UK]Bath Chron. 5 Sept. 3/2: It is supposed the above Gang have lately been discharged from that Sink of Iniquity the Floating Academy at Woolwich, and that the Robbery was concerted whilst the Parties were completing their Studies.
[UK]Derby Mercury 24 Nov. 1/2: A Plan has been given in to Mr. Pitt, for employing Convicts in a Mine at Newcastle, where none but Convicts shall work. [...] Mr Campbell’s Academy has only succeeded to the Benefit of the Master and the Ushers. The Scholars have not profited.
[UK]Caledonian Mercury 20 Oct. 2/3: Mr Duncan Campbell, the Master of the Floating Academy at Woolwich, is so little satisfied of the improvement of his pupils in moral philosophy, that he has stationed an additional watchman at his house [...] to protect him from their nocturnal visits.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, The Ring, The Chase, etc. 65: A jail-bird is said to have taken his degrees who has inhabited one of those ‘academies’ called starts.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 26 Feb. 1/4: Ven I vos in that ere Kex cadame, as the black and vile uns kalls it.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
[UK]Globe (London) 25 Nov. 1/5: In the days when criminals were condemned to the hulks, these latter were known as the ‘Floating Academy,’ and a little more than century ago were dubbed ‘Campbell’s Academy,’ from the name of the first director.
[UK]E.W. Rogers [perf. Vesta Tilley] He’s going in for this dance now [lyrics] And last week he was to an academy sent / Known to wrong-doing folks as a jail.
[US]A. Baer Two & Three 12 Feb. [synd. col.] The rum revenue provided for the delinquent academies and the dizzy sanitariums.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]J. Blake letter 24 Nov. in Joint (1972) 122: I [...] nourish the hope that some day of some year you will visit me at the academy.
[Aus] (ref. to 1890s) ‘Gloss. of Larrikin Terms’ in J. Murray Larrikins 201: academy: reformatory or prison.
[Aus](con. 1890s–1910s) G. Seal Lingo 44: Words like academy (prison), bagged (imprisoned), anointed (flogged), bluebottle (policemen) [...] reflected the larrikin’s uneasy existence along the fuzzy line between working class life and criminality.

5. a training ‘school’ for pickpockets.

[UK]Kendal Mercury 9 Mar. 4/3: ‘He [...] will make a good cully. Just you butter up the life of a covey to him [...] and I’ll keep a watch for him, and ’tice him to the ’cademy’ [ibid.] ‘I’m in want o’ poopils for my ’cademy, and this [i.e. prison] is the place to get ’em’.
[UK]Manchester Courier 24 Oct. 15/3: A New York Fagin [...] The boy who felt aggrieved because the ‘divvy’ had not been on the ‘straight’ told the police how this particular academy was carried on.

6. a billiard room.

[UK]Daily Tel. 26 July n.p.: An edict has been promulgated (Paris) forbidding the playing of games of chance on public thoroughfares or in cafes for money, and it is chiefly directed against the billiard rooms, or academies as they are called here.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 1/2: Academy (London). A billiardroom. Imported from Paris, 1885.