Dickens’s description of Tom-All-Alone’s, a rookery in St Giles, east of Charing Cross Road, can be read both as historical evidence and a powerful literary symbol of the Condition of England, where uncontrolled industrialisation contributed, in Dickens’s opinion, to misery, decay and disease. Likewise, Chancery stands as a bitter metaphor of moral corruption which pervades the upper classes.
Karl, Frederick R. George Eliot, Voice of a Century: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.
Another form of entertainment involved 'spectacles' where paranormal events, such as mesmerism , communication with the dead (by way of mediumship or channelling), ghost conjuring and the like, were carried out to the delight of crowds and participants. Such activities were more popular at this time than in other periods of recent Western history. 
It's always heartening to see well-thumbed copies of these on anyone's shelf. Nonetheless, this is the 21st century so here are the e-text URLS of all these genre-definining works, all of them now out of copyright and in public domain.
Of the several literary quarrels in which Thackeray had engaged during his life, the "Garrick Club affair" was to be the best known, for though he and Dickens had scuffled over the "Dignity of Literature" and other minor disagreements (often exacerbated by the interference of John Forster ), this fight caused a breach in their friendship that almost lasted to the end of Thackeray's life--it was healed only in his last months, through a surprise meeting and handshake on the steps of a London club. Thackeray had taken offense at some personal remarks in a column by Edmund Yates and demanded an apology, eventually taking the affair to the Garrick Club committee. Already upset with Thackeray for an indiscreet remark about his affair with Ellen Ternan , Dickens championed Yates, helping him to write letters both to Thackeray and, in his defense, to the club's committee. Despite Dickens's intervention, Yates eventually lost the vote of the Club's members, but the quarrel was stretched out through journal articles and pamphlets. "What pains me most," Thackeray was to tell Charles Kingsley , "is that Dickens should have been his adviser, and next that I should have had to lay a heavy hand on a young man who, I take it, has been cruelly punished by the issue of the affair, and I believe is hardly aware of the nature of his own offence, and doesn't even now understand that a gentleman should resent the monstrous insult which he volunteered" (Monsarrat 393).