Dickens' account of his visit on the day after Christmas, 1851 to the wards at St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics, founded in 1751 to provide free care to the impoverished and incurable mentally ill.
"The inhabitants of St. Luke’s largely sit in solitude. Dickens decries the absence of "domestic articles to occupy . . . the mind" in one gallery holding several silent, melancholy women, and praises the comfortable furnishings--and the relative "earnestness and diligence" of the inmates--in another. He uses statistics to show the prevalence of female patients, "the general efficacy of the treatment" at St. Luke’s, and the unhealthy weight gain of the inhabitants due to inactivity. Dickens describes the behavior of various distinctive inhabitants during the usual fortnightly dance, the viewing of a Christmas tree, and the distribution of presents" (http://medhum.med.nyu.edu/view/12156).
Digital edition from Dickens Journals Online at this link.
This brief work was reprinted by St. Luke's Hospital and published as a separate pamphlet, London, 1860, as a means of solicting donations.