Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knocking-shop n.

also knockers, knocking-crib, knocking-house, knocking ken, knocking school, knock shop
[knock v. (1a) + SE shop/crib n.1 (1)/house n.1 (1)]

1. a brothel.

[UK]Laughing Mercury 25 Aug. - 8 Sept. 173: Mrs Doll Bitchington made a learned speech [...] That never a Tumbler that was an approved matron to a Knocking School in London, but that was better to a Jyutice of the Peace [...] than the best milch cow [...] and yeilded him a far more profitable soop.
[UK] Frisky Vocalist 26: [song title] ‘To A Knocking Shop We’ll Go.’.
[UK] ‘Mother Jones’ Ticklish Minstrel 36: She keeps a nice knocking crib down in Leg Alley.
[UK] ‘Mother H’s Knocking Shop; or, A Bit Of Old Hat!’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 44: A jolly fat parson, once happen’d to pop / Into Mother H’s famed knocking shop, / For a bit of old hat, he felt inclined.
[UK]New Sprees of London 27: [T]he shickster fakement,—the knocking cribs—bawds, bullies, and fancy men.
[UK]New Sprees of London 33: There is a little private knocking ken in Princes-court, Drury Lane [which] will be found just the thing for the lecherous cove who don’t want every one to know when he has been partaking of mutton.
[Aus]Satirist and Sporting Chronicle (Sydney) 11 Mar. 3/4: CROSBY (the trap) might find employment on his beat without taking TIP from young Tom and Jerry’s to hunt up lush cribs and knocking shops, for their accommodation at the late hour.
[UK]Yokel’s Preceptor 7: He bequeathed his two sons a bawdyken each. One of the sons got a situation, we believe, for borrowing something – the other son soon floored his knocking shop, and then took to the streets.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 101/1: I inquired if she could accommodate me and my friend with a couple of beds for the night [...] ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘but I want to see what heifers you’ve got along with you, for my “drum” ain’t a “knocking” shop.’.
[UK]C. Deveureux Venus in India I 18: As fast as a regiment arrives from Afghanistan, the whole boiling rush off to bazaars, and you can see the Tommy Atkins waiting outside the knocking shops, holding their pricks in their hands, and roaring out to those having women to look sharp!
[US]E.E. Cummings Enormous Room (1928) 178: Count Bragard [...] said with lofty disgust that it was ‘no better than a bloody knocking ’ouse, Mr. Cummings.’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 584: In a knockingshop it was count of a tryon between two smugglers.
[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 88: Around the country were knocking shops called Liberty Hall, Mahogany Hall, Palace de Dance.
E.W. Springs Contact 241: All the comforts of a hotel — all the advantages of a knock-shop. There's a little redhead there you'd be crazy about.
[UK]M. Harrison Reported Safe Arrival 93: More ’arms bin done frough this ’ere Lonely Sojer business than be orl the knockin’-shops from the Roo dez Galliongs ter Arayshia.
[Aus]‘Lou Lou’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of the RAAF 39: Some girls work in factories, some girls work in stores, / But Lou Lou works in a knocking shop with fourteen other whores.
[UK]D. Davin For the Rest of Our Lives 152: In all the knocking-shops the war effort has priority. The military come first is the whore’s motto.
R. Kruger Tanker 108: He’ll want to go to a knock-shop. You tell ’im — it's not good, see: you catch a packet and you lose your money, see.
[US]A.J. Liebling Honest Rainmaker (1991) 25: Permitting the brothels and bagnios, the stews and knocking shops, to run wide open.
[UK]C. MacInnes City of Spades (1964) 88: ‘Theodore [...] is, like you, a student of social phenomena.’ ‘Is that why you bring her to this interesting G.I. knockshop?’.
[UK]N. Dunn Up the Junction 115: One night he says to me, ‘Come on, we’re going to a club,’ and he only takes me to a knocking shop ...
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 104: Turning dignified Australia house into a flamin’ knock shop.
[UK]A. Burgess Enderby Outside in Complete Enderby (2002) 313: Ma Willis’s Knocking Shop (Knock Twice and Wink for Alice).
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 122: a brothel, cat house [...] knocking house (Brit.).
[UK] (ref. to c. 1917) E. Williams Emlyn 197: Then France, the real thing, wham ... [...] There were the knocking shops behind the lines, but queuing up for three minutes of oo-la-la . . . no thanks.
[UK](con. WW2) T. Jones Heart of Oak [ebook] His sister’s name is Lily— she’s a whore in Piccadilly, / His mother keeps a knockshop in the Strand.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 93: A photo of their beloved husband and father, Brendan, being carried out of a grotty 42nd Street knock shop in a plastic bag.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 227: The pregnant sense, however, is in keeping with the earlier use of knock to mean copulation and knocker to mean penis; with such derivative expressions as knocking-house, a brothel, and knocking-jacket, a nightgown.
[UK]I. Welsh Trainspotting 339: Andreas saw that [the hotel] could be even more lucrative as a knocking-shop for London businessmen.
[Aus]Aus. Word Map [Internet] knockers. A brothel — also a knock shop.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of More Aus. Jokes 44: A virgin goes to a knock shop in Elwood for a trial run.
[UK]Guardian 12 June 5: Mr. Clark, an unrepentant philanderer now gone to the knocking shop in the sky.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I’d spent a lot of time skulking round knocking shops.
[UK]D. O’Donnell Locked Ward (2013) 233: Two garments so garish I wouldn’t have hung them as curtains in a North African knocking shop.

2. (Aus.) an untidy or dirty place.

[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 31: knocking-shop — An untidy or squalid place.
[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 121: This is Liverpool we’re talking about, one of the great dirty knocking shops of the world [...] just like all those other mongrel cesspits — your New Orleans, your Marseilles.