The Cathedral is built on the site of the former slave market site once an open space surrounded by small houses. In the middle of the houses was the whipping post where slaves could be punished or tested for how much pain they were able to endure to test for their ability to do hard labour. The high altar of the cathedral now stands on the site of the whipping post.
A missionary from England Reverend Arthur Nuget West then bought part of the area and a Hindu merchant Jairam Sewji gave the rest to the church.
The building of the church began on Christmas day 1873 and was completed in December 1880. The architect was C.F. Hayward a friend of Bishop Edward Steere (The third bishop of the diocese). The Cathedral’s name, Christ Church was the dedication of Saint Augustine the first Cathedral in Canterbury-England. It is also a memorial of Reverend Arthur Nuget West who died on Christmas day 1874.
The Cathedral has a link with the missionary explorer David Livingstone because of his appeal in Oxford and Cambridge about the suffering caused by the slave trade resulted in the missionaries arriving in Zanzibar in 1860’s to preach the gospel and to build the Cathedral.
The Cathedral is a working building with daily services, serving the Anglican Communion in Zanzibar. It still bears witness to the truths, which guides its founders. But it has also many items of historic and religious interest, linked with David Livingstone and those early times.