BUILDERS regenerating an historic part of Sunderland have preserved mementoes of the past and made sure they will be retained for posterity.

Frank Haslam Milan, a leading Wearside-based contractor, has demolished an existing housing estate in Tunstall Village, and started building 75 new rented homes on the site for Cheviot Housing Association.

But before they pulled down the old properties staff from Frank Haslam Milan preserved the original foundation stone and all the street signs, which bear the names of local councillors of the time.

And they have handed them all over to enthusiasts from the Silksworth Heritage Group who will store them for the benefit of future generations, and display them at exhibitions they regularly hold in the village.

Lisa Lormor, Frank Haslam Milan's business development manager, said: "We are always very pleased to be involved in regeneration schemes like Tunstall Village because it breathes new life into an area.

"But at the same time, we are conscious of the past heritage of the areas in which we are developing, and if we can save artefacts which have a local history value, we are delighted to do so."

Frank Haslam Milan, which specialises in providing housing solutions for local authorities, is building 75 new houses and bungalows for Cheviot Housing Association which is working in partnership with Sunderland City Council.

Councellor Peter Gibson, who represents the area and is a member of the housing committee, was approached by the Silksworth Heritage Group to arrange for anything of interest to be kept.

He said: "The housing in the area was unsatisfactory and uneconomical to maintain, so we had it demolished and replaced by housing association properties.