Written and illustrated by Charles Phillipson (Slightly Foxed £20, 324pp)

These were difficult times for Charles Phillipson who was a publicist at the company and an amateur artist. He took to his pen to make a gift item for Michael, his little boy.

Charles was already diagnosed with progressive multiple Sclerosis. Britain was also at war against Germany. However, these two facts did not diminish the incredible energy and creativity of Charles’ father.

The alphabet’s first book was followed by this collection of beautiful letters dating from 1945-1947. Michael Phillipson writes in the introduction of this lovely volume that these letters “affirmed his love and revealed his way to engage with my world”.

A new book collating letters and drawings Charles Phillipson, penned as a gift for his son Michael, gives a rare insight into suburban life in the 1940s. Pictured: Charles with son Michael

Charles Phillipson’s new book, which collects letters and sketches, was created as a present for his son Michael. It offers a unique insight into suburbia in the 1940s. Pictured: Charles with son Michael

Is that the real world? Mummy going to see a Halle orchestral concert with Daddy.

The father sent his son a daily letter, which he illustrated using a pen-and ink drawing. The combination creates an amazing evocation for a lost world.

Charles Phillipson, a Manchester native, was born in 1904 and attended night classes for three nights per week starting at the age 12. L. S. Lowry also took part in some of these classes, but he never drew as freely and with such a brilliant sense of line.

Charles is no different. Children typically left school when they are 14 years old back then. Today, this boy might be content to saunter about claiming to be an artist, but it was time for him learn lettering and commercial printing techniques.

A man could not make art just for the sake of it. He had to be able to pay his bills to support his family, including his spouse and their one child.

Charles’s letters were written on sheets torn from a pad of office scrap paper, with Michael’s full name on one side, plus a drawn ‘stamp’ — different each day and often showing a duck or other creature wearing a crown, like the King’s. They were folded as a letter.

Charles kept a diary of notes and would take short breaks to write them down. Marjorie was the first to recognize their uniqueness, and she saved them all.

What a gift to us that she did — for this set of letters and drawings give a rare insight into suburban life in the 1940s.

Pictured: Illustration from the letters

Pictured: Illustration from the letters

On May 8, 1945 (pictured left): “Dear Michael, Hurray!” Hurray! It is an unforgettable day that you’ll never forget. It’s VE Day!

Charles wrote this on February 22, 1945: “When you look at all the heavy stuff a soldier must carry, it makes you wonder just how he does it.” Today, I witnessed many soldiers waiting on trains with their kit bags heaped up on the platforms.

They are all in the drawing. “We meet in person on March 22, 1945. . . The lady porter at Burnage Station.

‘During war times, lots of women must do the work men do in peacetime. Love from Daddy.

On May 8, 1945, one of the most moving illustrations was: “Dear Michael! Hurray!” Hurray! It is an unforgettable day that you’ll never forget. This is VE Day. This is VE Day! You have my love, Daddy.

It shows a tiny boy with the national flag waving, along with a row light bulbs (no longer blackout), and a little cherub holding a peace banner. The dove is a joyous triumphant bird worthy of Picasso.

Happiness shines from that page — but not so much as in the August 10 letter: ‘Dear Son, This is another great day to remember. It is now over. The Japanese gave up the fight and are no longer fighting. Now we can all live peacefully with each other. Cheers!!! From Daddy.

Beneath is a gloriously celebratory drawing of a couple dancing a merry jig hand in hand, and a little boy turning somersaults — without any doubt a representation of the Phillipson family.

Something about it made me want to cry — probably because of the utter impossibility of Charles’s hopeful prediction.

Charles went on to draw and paint after being made redundant in 1955, and died at home in 1974. Pictured: Charles and Michael in the garden at Lea Road in 1941

Charles went on to draw and paint after being made redundant in 1955, and died at home in 1974. Photographed in 1941: Charles and Michael at Lea Road’s garden.

Things were shifting. Michael, a little boy from Michigan, learns on July 28, 1945 that this week was very exciting for all grown-ups. People have been talking and arguing a lot since the results were announced.

That was Clement Attlee’s bombshell Labour landslide — and the picture shows a group of men eagerly peering at a newspaper. VJ Day’s street party is underway, as well as the demolition of the air-raid shelter. . . Charles slowly begins to write ‘joinedup’ for his child.

The big freeze of 1946-1947 hits. This reviewer was just a baby who coughed in his cot.Charles shows his son and wife in Eskimo clothing at the table. He vividly depicts the winter: “This winter will remain with us for many years.” We have been experiencing continuous snow, frost and blizzards for several weeks. The railways and roads have been closed.

Charles soon will be working from his home as there’s no coal in the office or factory. But, Charles says that many little girls and boys long for more of it.

A bonfire is magic, and it’s a thrill to be there four days before Christmas. Small boys are praised for bringing their parents tea in bed. . .

The simple, everyday details of suburban life make everything seem miraculous. Each line is a reflection of the love and devotion that a loving father has for his children.

Charles became disabled in 1955. However, he continued to draw and paint despite his illness. He also designed the annual family Christmas card. Charles died in his own home on December 31, 1974.

I keep returning to this magical collection, each time with renewed wonder that the letters survived — but also with a strange sadness that these days there is so little inclination to write any letters at all, let alone ones as happy and touching as these.