Edward Cecil Bartlett, civil engineer, was the eldest son of Edward Phillip Bartlett and received his school education at Dover College, in the town of Dover, England. He became an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and came to the Cape Colony in 1898. In 1903 he married Maud Kelsey, with whom he had a son. By 1908 he was professionally associated with Thomas Stewart*, the civil engineer for the Table Mountain reservoirs.
Bartlett was an early member of the Cape Society of Civil Engineers, founded in 1902, and was still a member of its successor, the South African Society of Civil Engineers, in 1913. However, by 1909 he had returned to London, where he still resided in 1913. In 1912 he published a paper in the Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers on "Investigations relating to the yield of a catchment area in Cape Colony" (pp. 283-297). The project was undertaken with a view to securing an improved water supply for Cape Town. The paper was followed by an extensive discussion on water supply in South Africa (pp. 298-325).