SPEC Retreat Centre is located on a beautiful plot of land in the village of Pinner, in north London. The area was historically called Waxwell Farm, and consists of excellent retreat facilities, including: seven acres of garden; the SPEC community house (Waxwell House); the Outreach team; and the St. Joan of Arc Residential Complex, which was recently opened in October 2017.
The SPEC community live in Waxwell House, historically part of Waxwell Farm. The house consists of 3 wings: the Tudor wing, the Victorian wing, and the Modern wing. The Tudor wing was constructed at the end of the 16th Century. An extension was added in the 1800s and is aptly called the Victorian wing. In 1947, Waxwell Farm was purchased as a gift for the Grail Society. The chapel and accommodation – the Modern wing – were added in 1957. Waxwell Farm was purchased by the Diocese of Westminster in 2010 and became SPEC’s new home in March 2014.
Our new residential complex, named after the young St. Joan of Arc, was completed in Autumn 2017, and was officially opened by Cardinal Vincent Nichols on the 3 October 2017.
The St. Joan of Arc Residential Complex (or “The Arc” for short) was built in our gardens, where it is beautifully cut off from surrounding roads, ensuring a quiet haven for all those who visit. Although it is a modern building, its green wooden paneling compliments the gardens that surround it.
The building consists of two floors: the lower floor is dedicated to meeting and retreat spaces, including our dining hall, while the upper floor is the accommodation area. The building is also divided into two wings, the left and right wings. Each wing houses one large meeting room, and three smaller meeting rooms, and is equipped for hosting a retreat of 32 people at a time.
This building is where SPEC hosts its retreats.
The Rotunda is a lovely round building adjacent to Waxwell House. It was originally built in 1963 and was recently renovated in 2017. The Rotunda is a spacious round hall, with an abundance of natural light. It is used both as retreat space and it can also be converted into a venue for activities and entertainment.
SPEC is set in approximately 7 acres of undulating grounds that range from manicured lawns and diverse flower-beds to more ‘wilderness’ areas with wild plants and abundant wildlife. Considering we’re only in Zone 5 of Greater London, the grounds are an impressive amount of space for exploring, playing, and finding secluded corners to simply be with God.