C. Ernest Pope qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (MRCS) in 1877 and was licensed to practice in the Cape Colony on 3 June 1878. That same year he asked for an appointment as district surgeon in Aliwal North, Port Alfred, or Victoria East. In 1884 he resided in Alice, Eastern Cape, but by 1893 had moved to Matatiele, Griqualand East, where he was district surgeon. By May 1897 he had become a member of the newly established (second) South African Medical Association. He practiced at Matatiele until 1915 or later, but in 1926, by then presumably retired, was living in West Street, Durban.
In 1893 Pope received a complete set of meteorological instruments from the Meteorological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope. He provided the commission with rainfall data from 1893 and with regular meteorological observations at Matatiele from 1895. In 1897 his station, with a number of others, was upgraded to a second order meteorological station. He continued providing observations to the end of 1900, when his station was closed.
In 1913 Dr Pope presented a collection of moths to the Albany Museum, Grahamstown.