The Committee of Management was founded in 1884, with Walter Besant as its first chairman. Established to handle the regular affairs of the Society, it initially met weekly.
The first Management Committee was made up of eight members. Once the structure was formalised in the constitution, it was composed of twelve members with, in principle, three members retiring each year. In practice, many members remained on the Committee for an extended period of time.
Until 1907, the Committee of Management recruited only from the Council. Due to dissatisfaction with the arcane processes of the Society, a special committee was established to evaluate the composition and structure of the Management Committee. A special resolution in 1908 effected a change to the Society's constitution.