E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Up the spout. At the pawn-brokers. In allusion to the spout up which brokers send the articles ticketed. When redeemed they return down the spouti.e. from the store-room to the shop.
As for spoons, forks, and jewellery, they are not taken so readily to the smelting-pot, but to well-known places where there is a pipe [spout] which your lordships may have seen in a pawnbrokers shop. The thief taps, the pipe is lifted up, and in the course of a minute a hand comes out, covered with a glove, takes up the article, and gives out the money for it.Lord Shaftesbury: The Times, March 1st, 1869.