Charles was the eldest son of Thomas Wilson, the head of Thomas Wilson Sons & Co.. He was educated at Kingston College in Hull, along with his brother Arthur, before eventually joining the family business, where they both became joint managers. By 1871, the business under Wilson extended from Norweigan and Baltic services to accommodate Adriatic, Sicilian, American and Indian services. By 1891, the Wilsons owned 100 ships with a profit of £2.5 million - a massive amount by the standards of the day. By 1903, the company was the largest ship company in Hull, as well as the largest private fleet company.
Wilson served as High Sheriff of Hull, and in 1874 he was elected as Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for the Hull constituency. From 1885 to 1906 he represented Hull West. Although opposed to the Boer War, he lent the company's finest vessel, Ariosto, at the government's disposal.
Wilson married Jane Helen Wellesley, a daughter of Colonel William Wellesley, nephew of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. They had seven children.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Joseph Walker Pease and
|Member of Parliament for
1874 – 1885
With: Charles Norwood
|New constituency||Member of Parliament
for Hull West
1885 – 1906
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
1906 – 1907
Charles Henry Wellesley Wilson