Leek, Staffordshire born Arthur Hulme began his career as an inside right in local junior football from where he signed for Second Division club Lincoln City in June 1897. He made his Football League debut on 4th September, the opening day of the 1897-98 Football League season, in the away match at Newton Heath (now Manchester United), Lincoln lost 5-0. He played regularly, scoring 13 goals from 31 appearances in all competitions, 12 from 29 in the League, but was released at the end of the season.
Hulme and a Lincoln teammate, goalkeeper William Wilkinson, were two of numerous new signings for Southern League club Gravesend United for the 1898-99 season but after a single season neither was retained for the following campaign. The club’s committee was keen to dispense with the services of “the men with drinking reputations, who proved such failures last season”, though there is no indication that Hulme was one such. He played for Midland League club Wellingborough in 1899 before returning to the Southern League with Bristol Rovers in 1900.
Hulme signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in 1901 ahead of their second season in the Southern League. His profile in Carder and Harris’s Albion A-Z describes him as highly influential in Brighton’s successful campaign for promotion to the First Division, and, by now playing in defence at right back, he missed only one match in their first campaign at the higher level. In 1904-05, he played more frequently for the reserves than for the first team, though he did replace the injured centre half Micky Good for the high profile FA Cup tie against his former club Bristol Rovers. Albion lost 2-1, and the winning Rovers players were presented with gold medals in honour of their victory.
At the end of that season, Hulme was one of only three players retained by Albion. He was appointed club captain and contributed to their reaching the last 32 of the 1905-06 FA Cup, in which they lost to Football League First Division club Middlesbrough, only after two replays; according to the Daily Mirror’s match report, Hulme played splendidly. By 1907 he was again primarily a reserve, standing in when Arthur Archer was unavailable. In recognition of his five years’ service to the club, he became the first Albion player to be awarded a benefit match. The chosen match was the Western League fixture against Southampton, but the weather was extremely wet and the attendance was reported as “barely two thousand”. He played only one first team match in 1908-09, and retired at the end of the season, having scored 7 goals from 174 appearances for Albion in first team competition. He then returned to his native Leek where he was trainer of local team Leek United.
Hulme enlisted in The Royal Sussex Regiment at the start of the First World War. He was serving as a corporal in the 7th Battalion at the time of his death in action at Gueudecourt, on the Somme in October 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and on the Nicholson War Memorial in Leek.