A Bioscope shows started as fairground attractions consisting of a travelling cinema. The heyday of the Bioscope was from the late 1890s until World War I.
Bioscope shows were fronted by the largest fairground organs, and these formed the entire public face of the show . A stage was usually in front of the organ, and dancing girls would entertain the crowds between film shows
Films shown in the Bioscope were primitive, and the earliest of these were made by the showmen themselves. Later, films were commercially produced. Bioscope shows were integrated, in Britain at least, into the Variety shows in the huge Music Halls which were built at the end of the nineteenth century.
Lowry refers to Brown's Bioscope in his short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour'; "While the Argyle announced Harry Champion, Brown's Bioscope. It was melancholy to be bidding adieu to these familiar placards which were like friends." (Psalms Pg. 233). The Argyle Theatre claimed to be the first theatre outside London to show animated pictures, running electric cables through Birkenhead in 1896 to the theatre, where the films were projected onto a sheet. The bioscopes were still be shown at the theatre in the 1920s as can be seen in the advertisement from 1925 above.