Arthur Wilson was born at Arnold, Nottinghamshire in 1833 the son of John Wilson, of Arnot Hill near Nottingham and was articled to the Nottingham architect George Gordon Place. He had commenced independent practice in Nottingham by 1855. His known commissions of this period include the restoration St John the Baptist Treswell Notts (1855) and a New school at Nottingham, (1859).
In the mid-1860s he removed to Manchester and was living in the Chorlton-on Medlock district at the time of the 1871 census.
Arthur Wilson married Elizabeth Farmer and died on 16 December 1872