St. Mirren Park (Love Street)
St. Mirren Park, more commonly known as Love Street, was registered as Fullerton Park for St. Mirren's first season there in 1894, as they were being rented from a Mr Fullerton.
Saints had been forced to move from their previous grounds at Westmarch following a 100% rent increase imposed on them. The initial aggreement for Love Street was a ten year lease. St. Mirren played their first home game at the ground, a 3–0 defeat to Celtic, on 8 September 1894 in front of 8000 spectators.
When the ten year lease expired, the club was nearly forced to move away from Love Street, much as it had been from Westmarch, due to a massive rent increase imposed by the landowner. Saints had offered to purchase the land, but were quoted an unrealistic price along with the ultimatum to buy or pay the hefty increase in rent.
The club looked for alternatives, and a move back to Shortroods was considered, before the owner of Love Street reconsidered his proposals and a deal was agreed for Saints to buy the land in 1905.
Over the next few years Saints began negotiations to buy the adjoining land to enable them to expand the spectating area of the ground and this was achieved in 1920.
St Mirren Park under re-construction September 1921
With the surrounding space now owned by the club they began the redevelopment of the ground starting with a new grandstand, which was started in 1921. However due to financial constraints the initial plan to have it along the entire length of the pitch was altered and the board made plans for this work to be completed when the financial situation improved. However this work was never completed and the stand remained the same size until the final days of the ground. Following completion of the Main Stand, there was no major changes in the ground until the late 1950's when a roof was erected to cover the North Stand and floodlights were installed at the ground in 1959.
The Main Stand in the 1950s.
The North Bank in the 1970s.
In the summer of 1979, the Love Street End terracing was knocked down and rebuilt ten yards from the goal. There was also more talk of covering the new family enclosure at Cairter’s Corner and installing a stadium clock, however as time would tell, none of the two suggestions were ever carried out. In 1991 seats were added to the Northbank in accordance with the recent Taylor report which recommended clubs change their grounds to all seater stadiums.
Love Street in 1990
The next major change at the ground came in 1995 when the Caledonia Street terrace was replaced by the new impressive West Stand. This was to become the away fans new vantage point and was considered to be one of the best views offered at the ground.
The Caledonia Street End in the 1980s
The Caledonia Stand
With the team sitting on top of the First Division towards the end of the Millenium season, Saints were faced with the knowledge that to gain promotion to the SPL they would require an all seater stadium and the Love Street terracing had to be redeveloped. With the completion of the East Stand, which was to be designated a family area, the ground now had a capacity of 10,800 seats and was fully compliant with the entry criteria for the SPL.
The ground as it was at closure
Following planning approval from Renfrewshire Council, the ground was sold to supermarket chain Tesco who as part of the deal would finance the construction of a new 8,000 seater stadium and clear the outstanding financial obligations of the club. The new ground would be built at Greenhill Road, in the Ferguslie area of Paisley, close to the location of one of their former home at Westmarch. Construction began in 2008. The final game at Love Street was played before a capacity crowd against Motherwell on the 3rd of January 2009.
Following demolition, the permission to build a retail develooment was refused, and the site was repurposed into a new housing development. These houses were completed in 2017, and the new streets were named by popular demand in honour of the former ground with names such as 'North Bank', 'Saints Street', and 'Cairter's Corner'.